Buying safe tires
Tips to make safe-tire shopping easier
When we drive, our safety is often riding on our tires. A well-chosen tire can contribute to better handling and stopping in all road conditions, and to increased fuel economy. Here are some helpful pointers:
Preventative maintenance tips
Rotate your tires regularly
Your tires will last longer if you rotate them. Front and back tires usually wear differently, particularly on front-wheel drive vehicles. It’s important to follow the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations, which you will find in the owner’s manual. Transport Canada recommends you rotate your tires approximately every 10,000 km.
Inflate your tires properly
By maintaining correct tire pressure for your car, you can improve your driving performance and gas mileage. An improperly inflated tire could also lead to complete tire failure and a serious accident. As well, incorrectly inflated tires can reduce their life. This means buying new tires faster and sending more to landfills. By maintaining your tires longer, you’ll be doing your share to help protect the environment.
Check your tires regularly
Check your tires for wear by examining the tread wear bars on your tire. When the wear bars are flush with the tread, you should consider replacing your tire. Try this simple method recommended by The Rubber Association of Canada to determine how worn your tires are. Simply place a penny into a tread groove with the Queen’s head down and facing you. If you can see the tips of the crown, you may need to buy new tires.
When you’re ready to buy
When you buy new tires, they should have the same load capacity and speed rating as the original tires; this information is usually printed on the tires. Your new tires should also be the same size as the original ones; the size should be indicated on the inside of the driver’s door.
Buying winter tires
All-season tires can provide safe performance in most weather conditions. However, snow and ice-covered roads require winter tires. This is because all-season tires lose their elasticity at temperatures below 7 degrees Celsius, which results in reduced traction. When shopping for winter tires, look for a peaked mountain with snowflake symbol.
Choosing the right tire
Talk to a knowledgeable tire professional who can help you choose the right tire. Be sure you ask about:
- Durability: choose a tire that reflects how much driving you do per year.
- Traction: assess the road and the weather conditions in which you drive. Keep in mind that winter tires are designed for ice and snow.
- Ride comfort: the level of noise and feel of the ride.
A lot is riding on your tires, they are worth paying attention to!