was successfully added to your cart.

How to Tell When Your Tires Need Replacing

All tires need replacing eventually. These signs of age, wear, and tear will help you know when it’s time to buy a new set.

By | Repair Tips

The lifespan of a tire depends on a number of factors: its design, the climate, your driving habits, the road conditions you’re driving on, and how well you care for your tires. While there’s no way to tell exactly how long a tire will last when you buy it, here are three questions you can ask yourself that will help you determine if they need replacing.

1. How old are your tires?

Some tires actually come with a recommended “best before” date from their manufacturers. Even if the treads appear to be in good condition, the rubber components can still break down. This rule also applies to spare tires. If you’re missing your owner’s manual, or you feel you put a lot more wear on your tires than the average driver, here are some guidelines to consider:

Are your tires over five years old? Once your tires have been in use on the road for five years or more, they may be in fine shape, but they may need replacing. You should have them inspected by a professional at least once per year.

Are your tires over (or approaching) ten years old? As a precaution, most tire manufacturers recommend that you replace tires ten years after the manufacture date. At this point, it’s better to replace your tires so you aren’t compromising your safety on the road.

2. How hard are you working your tires?

If something seems “off” while you’re driving – If you’re sliding while breaking on a rainy day, if you lose traction when accelerating if you hear strange noises or feel a pull on the wheel, if you feel a shake – it could be your ball joints or tie-rod ends, or it could just be that your tires are worn or out of balance.

By checking your tires for signs of damage, you’ll have a better idea if they need replacing, before you end up with a flat and find yourself changing tires on the side of the road. If your ride feels rough, and if you notice vibrations in your car, you should reduce your speed, drive extra carefully, and pull over in a safe spot to stop and inspect your tires.

Once a month and before you go on long road trips, check your tires for these signs of damage:

  • Cracks
  • Bulges
  • Small stones, nails, and other troublesome objects
  • Damaged valve caps
  • Uneven tread wear
  • Shallow tread

Your tires’ treads are the points of contact between your car and the road. You don’t want to drive on worn tire treads because the shallow grooves reduce your car’s grip on the road, which affects your car’s responsiveness in poor weather conditions.

Tip: how to check for shallow tread

You don’t need fancy equipment to check if your tires’ treads are in working condition – a quarter will do the trick. Follow this simple test from Michelin to see how (using a Canadian quarter as an example):

3. Are you making these mistakes?

All these mistakes will wear down your tires, meaning you’ll need to replace them sooner:

Don’t: Use your summer or “all-season” tires on snow and ice
Don’t: Mix summer or all-season tire types on your car
Don’t: Use tires on damaged rims
Don’t: Use tire and rim sizes that are not compatible
Don’t: Use tires that have a speed capability and load index lower than recommended by your car manufacturer (check your car’s owner’s manual)
Don’t: Re-inflate a tire that has been run flat or seriously under inflated for an extended period of time
Don’t: Use a spare tire of a different size at speeds higher than 80 km/hour

Do: Check out our 6 upkeep tips for longer-lasting tires here!

Extend the life of your new set of tires

If you enjoyed this article, check out our introductory guide to tire maintenance and learn about all the things you can do increase the lifespan of your tires, so you won’t need to replace them as often.

How to Extend the Lifespan of Your Tires

Here are 6 upkeep tips for longer-lasting tires (and more money in your pocket)

By | Repair Tips

As a new driver, proper tire maintenance is something you should absolutely know about – your tires are the four points of contact between your car and the road, so it’s crucial that they’re always in good working condition.

While regular inspection plays a big role in maintaining your tires, so does safer driving. Going over the speed limit, jerky steering, hitting curbs, and hard acceleration and braking all put stress on your tires, making them wear down faster.

The following six tips are all things you can do regularly so you won’t need to replace your tires as often. Not only will you save money, but you’ll improve your driving performance and fuel efficiency too – which helps you save on gas and insurance!

1. Rotate your tires regularly.
Tires experience different amounts of stress when in contact with the ground. Left, right, front and rear tires all wear down differently (even on all-wheel-drive cars). Tire rotation means changing where the individual tire is mounted on the car. It’s recommended you rotate your tires once every 10,000 to 12,000 km or 6 months.

2. Get a wheel alignment.
Another way to avoid uneven tread wear on your tires is to align your wheels every year or
20,000 km (15,000 miles). Any form of impact to your wheels, such as road accidents or even driving over uneven surfaces (like hitting curbs or potholes) can displace your tires. You’ll know it’s definitely time to get your wheels aligned if your steering wheel isn’t centered, you feel vibration when steering, or your car drifts to one side while driving.

3. Make sure your tires are balanced.
Every time you change or rotate your tires, you should make sure your tires are balanced to prevent premature tread wear. This is a task you’ll need a mechanic’s help with, as it involves using a balancing machine to equalize the weight of the combined tire and wheel assembly so that it spins smoothly at high speed.

4. Check your tire pressure.
Keeping your tires properly inflated ensures that your car is steering, accelerating, and braking as it should be. As a general rule, tires can lose up to 1 PSI (pounds per square inch) every month, so it’s important to check all tires (including the spare) regularly.

Tip: When the temperature drops, so does tire pressure, so your winter tires should be 3-5 PSI higher than the pressure recommended for all-season tires.

This is a task you can easily learn yourself. Purchase a tire pressure gauge, and check when tires are “cold” (before you head out for a drive). Follow the directions in your gauge’s owner’s manual, and compare the measured PSI to the PSI in your car’s owner’s manual. If your PSI is above the recommended number, let some air out of your tire until it matches. If your PSI is too low, then drive to your local gas station to add air, then check if you’ve reached the proper number.

5. Change your tires according to the season.
As discussed in our previous blog post on using the right tires for the season, the increased safety far outweighs the extra effort involved in owning two sets. The benefit to owning two sets of tires will mean they should last twice as long as one set of all-season tires.

6. Store your tires properly.
So you changed your tires, now what? Proper storage keeps your off-season tires in working condition when they aren’t being used. Follow our step-by-step guide to learn how to store your tires at home and save yourself some cash.

When is it time to replace your tires?

It depends on a number of factors, some of which are completely out of your control (such as weather conditions). Check with your tire manufacturer if they have a recommended “best before” date.

Your tires will need replacing eventually, so once a month and before you go on long road trips, check your tires for these signs of damage:

  • Cracks
  • Bulges
  • Small stones, nails, and other troublesome objects
  • Damaged valve caps
  • Uneven tread wear
  • Shallow tread

Tip: Don’t mix and match tires. While it may seem more cost effective to replace one or two tires at a time, having mismatched tires can lead to rapid and uneven tread wear, or even mechanical issues.

In the end, it doesn’t cost any more to equip yourself with the right tires, and the right tools will help get more life out of your tires and performance out of your car. When it’s time to change your tires, learn how to do it yourself with our step-by-step illustrated guide.

All-Season vs. Winter Tires: What’s the Difference?

Equipping your car with the right tires for the season ensures your safety on the road all year long.

By | Repair Tips

Why tires have different temperature “comfort zones” and when to use them.

Sharing facts about tire safety can be one of the simplest, yet most powerful lessons to prevent people you care about from getting into a road accident. Today we’re going to talk about the importance of driving on the right tires in the right weather conditions. Because all-season tires and winter tires are made with different rubber compounds, they allow cars to perform as they should in a wider range of temperatures.

You may not think of tires as a safety feature, but they’re one of the most important aspects of driving that help you stay out of harm’s way – even more than experience behind the wheel. You can’t always be there to keep your loved ones out of danger, but you can help them understand why it’s so important to drive on the right tires.

Why winter tires are so much safer to drive on.

According to tests run by Transport Canada and the Rubber Association of Canada, cars driving at speeds of 40-50 km/hour veered off the track wearing all-season tires, and consistently stayed on course using winter tires. In deep snow, winter tires provide 25% improved traction over all-season tires, which could significantly lower your risk for an accident.

These stats ring true if you mount winter tires of the same size and type on all 4 wheels of your car. Front wheel drive cars benefit the most, since the rear wheels equipped with all-season tires are most likely to end up spinning helplessly in deep snow.

When temperatures drop below 7°C/45°F, all-season tires start losing their grip on the road, and lose traction completely below -10°C/14°F. Meanwhile, winter tires are performing at their best. Winter tires in good condition keep your car moving forward in ice, slush, sleet – you name it. With tread patterns designed to stay flexible in the cold, winter tires not only prevent snow buildup in the grooves, but they also stop a car from slipping on ice like a hockey puck – improving a driver’s ability to maneuver properly while turning and breaking, with much longer stopping distances.

Can you drive on winter tires all year?

Now, you might be wondering if you could save money by using winter tires all year, even when temperatures are higher than 7°C/45°F. Sorry friend, but this is not a good idea. In parts of the world that experience temperature swings, tires are not a “one size fits all” proposition.

Winter tires on hot pavement are just as risky to drive on as all-season tires in the cold. They’re just not designed to perform in the warmer months of the year – not only are they less safe to use, they will wear out a whole lot quicker than all-season tires if you’re driving on them all the time.

Tests run by CAA showed that drivers using winter tires in temperatures above 7°C had less control of their vehicles and needed more time and distance to stop safely. Even in dry conditions, car performance was affected at speeds over 50 km/hour, and at 85 km/hour, drivers could not even control their vehicles. On wet roads, the impact was felt at even lower speeds.

Here’s why you shouldn’t wait to switch your tires.

Equipping your car with the right tires is your responsibility to ensure your car is performing as it should be. Whether you drive a small or large vehicle, think about all the work it is doing to accelerate, brake, maintain stability, and take turns – all this relies on the contact your tires are making with the road. If you care about the safety of yourself, your family, and other people on the road, you should make sure you’ve got the right tires on your car.

The increased safety of using the proper tires for the season far outweighs the extra effort involved in owning two sets. Much of the extra spending comes from the service costs associated with switching your tires twice a year, which is why you should change them yourself.

Help them arrive safe.

With the right tools and know-how, it’s absolutely safe to change passenger vehicle tires on your own. So don’t leave your loved ones waiting for a service appointment and compromising their safety in the meantime. Help them change their own tires this year, and they’ll have the right tires on their cars exactly when they need them.

How to Store Tires for the Winter: Frequently Asked Questions

Free yourself from yearly tire storage fees.

By | Repair Tips

Follow these tips to store your tires at home and save yourself some cash.

Whether you have a basement, garage, or storage locker, if you have the space to store your tires at home, it’s an easy way to avoid extra costs from your dealership, service centre, or mechanic.

Storing tires yourself is a fairly simple job that involves keeping them clean, covered, and out of harm’s way. Not unlike people, tires wear down over time, and perform their best at comfortable temperatures. We put together some Q&As that will help you understand how NOT to store your tires, and keep them functioning properly.

So, if you’ve ever wondered whether you can store tires outside, keep them in the trunk of your car, or leave them uncovered on your garage floor, these answers will help you choose the right storage spot to protect your investment and driving safely when you put those tires back on your car. Here’s how to store your tires so they last as long as possible.

Tire Storage Q&As

Q: Is it safe to store tires in your house?

A: It is absolutely safe to store tires at home, as long as you keep them away from heat sources and appliances that emit carbon monoxide, such as a furnace or central vacuum. Your tires should also not be kept near any kind of harsh substances, such as chemicals, fuels, solvents, lubricants, or other dangerous liquids. Choose a spot that is cool and dry with little to no changes in temperature and humidity – this means that an attic or a shed is not an appropriate place.

Q: Can tires be stored outside?

A: If you read the previous answer, you can guess that the answer is no. Tires are best kept in a climate-controlled environment. Tires not only suffer damage from swings in temperature and humidity, but also direct sunlight, which is harmful to the rubber.

Q: How do you inspect tires before storing them?

A: Check your tires’ valve stems for leaks, then, check tire pressure and adjust to the recommended PSI. Then check the treads of your tires. Often, they will have small stones and gravel from the road jammed into the grooves. Remove them using a screwdriver to stop the tread from getting stretched out while your tires are being stored.

Q: How much cleaning do tires need before storage?

A: Tires should definitely have dust, dirt, and grime from the road removed before storage, since all that gunk buildup contains harsh chemicals that will cause damage to your tires over time. Clean your tires using a tire brush, soap and water. If you’re keeping them mounted on rims, use a wheel brush to clean them with a special cleaner. Check your car’s ownership manual to see if your manufacturer has approved specific cleaning products for your wheels. Once your tires are clean, dry them off with a towel and let them air out before covering.

Q: How should tires be covered up for storage?

A: Tires don’t need anything fancy to store well, as long as they are sealed in airtight plastic bags, which protect them from changes in humidity. You can store your tires inside regular lawn and garden bags, as long as you remove as much air as possible from them before placing the tires inside (you can even do this with a vacuum cleaner!) Once the air is out of the bag, seal it up with tape, so that the tire doesn’t dry out.

Q: Should tires be stored flat or upright?

A: Manufacturers recommend that tires should be stored upright on their treads – as they would be positioned on a car – to reduce stress and prevent distortion. If your only option is to store them horizontally, then stack them flat so that the bottom tire doesn’t lose its shape – you should use a piece of clean wood instead of placing them directly on an uneven surface. Don’t stack too many tires on top of each other. If your tires are still mounted on rims, you also have the option of storing them on tire hooks that can handle the weight.

Q: How long can you keep tires in storage?

A: When tires are properly stored as recommended above, they can have a very long shelf life. Proper storage and care can do wonders for increasing a tire’s lifespan. If you’re planning to store them for more than a year, check your with your tires’ manufacturer if there is a “best before” date for their expected total lifespan.

If you store your own tires, you should change them yourself too.

By following the above steps, your tires will last longer and you’ll be better prepared for the change of season when it comes time to switch your tires in the spring and fall.

Storing tires yourself not only gets rid the cost of keeping them at your dealership or service centre, it also means you can switch providers, because no one’s holding them hostage to keep you coming back for service when it’s time to get your tires changed.

Of course, you could avoid that hassle as well by changing your tires yourself, which saves you even more money! Here’s our step-by-step illustrated guide on how to change a tire.

This is When You Should Switch Over to Winter Tires

Here's how to avoid the mad rush for service centre appointments.

By | Repair Tips

What time of year should you change your tires over?

Clearly the answer isn’t the same every year, as the seasons feel very different from one winter to the next. It’s also not the same for everyone, since every area is hit by cold temperatures at different times.

In this way, tires are like footwear. In some parts of the world, people can wear the same shoes year-round because temperatures don’t swing up or down that much. But in areas where people experience distinct changes in weather, the idea of calling tires “all-season” is as strange as wearing sandals in a blizzard or snow boots in the summertime. We need the right footwear to do activities outside in both +20°C and -20°C. While luckily we don’t have to swap out tires as often as we switch out our shoes, it’s still incredibly important that your car is properly “dressed” for the season so it can perform correctly.

Just like the name for “all-season tires” is inaccurate, so is the idea of “snow tires” – and even “winter tires” doesn’t actually make sense, because these tires are actually designed for many different weather conditions (basically whenever it’s cold outside).

Here’s the rule you should know: major tire manufacturers recommend that you switch to winter tires once your local temperature is consistently at or less than 7 degrees Celsius or 45 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you care about the safety of yourself, your family, and other people on the road, you should make sure you’ve got the right tires on your car. So when should you make the switch? You’ll have to check your local long-term weather forecast to get an idea of when to get ready for colder weather. This year, in many parts of Canada and the United States, people are anticipating plenty of snow and some wild temperature swings thanks to the Winter 2018-19 prediction from the Farmer’s Almanac.

Why switch your tires at 7°C/45°F?

7 degrees Celsius or 45 degrees Fahrenheit is the standard temperature that winter tires are designed for improved handling, traction, and braking distances, across all major tire brands.

In any weather conditions where the temperature dips below this number, all-season tires can’t perform effectively and become risky to drive on. The rubber hardens to the point where, like a hockey puck on ice, the friction point is reduced and the tires will lose traction or require more stopping distance.

When the cold weather worsens from snow and ice, the softer rubber and specially-designed treads on winter tires give them better grip and performance on slippery surfaces, and better traction to maneuver and brake at shorter distances.

Are winter tires required in Canada?

Tires are one of the most important safety features in your car. Most of us don’t give our tires much thought, aside from the times in the year we need to change them, or when we get a flat. But tires do the vitally important job of keeping our cars driving on the road and maneuvering as they should be.

That being said, in most places switching your tires isn’t written in law. In the United States, there are no states that require putting on winter tires. In Canada, it’s required by law in two provinces:

  • Quebec requires all cars to be equipped with winter tires between December 15 and March 15.
  • British Columbia requires all cars driving on designated highways in the province to be equipped with winter tires between October 1 and April 30.

However, regardless of where you live and drive in the northern half of North America, winter tires are essential to safe driving in colder temperatures. The use of winter tires is strongly encouraged by all provinces and Transport Canada in the months between October and May.

Here are 5 reasons to change your tires on time.

Just a little extra motivation to change your tires now.

  • There’s no better way to maintain your car’s performance in winter conditions than swapping out your all-season tires for winter tires.
  • As temperatures drop, not only do your all-season tires become less effective, it becomes more difficult to drive on them – so you may find yourself losing control on the road.
  • Some insurance companies offer discounts to drivers who install winter tires. If you live in Ontario, the rate reduction is guaranteed, so make sure you get it by changing your tires!
  • You never know when the weather will take a turn for the worse. Instead of being caught off guard by a sudden dumping of snow, it makes life much easier to get your tire change out of the way earlier in the fall. You don’t want to end up stuck in your driveway!
  • If you wait for the first frost or snowfall to swap your tires, don’t expect to get a service appointment any time soon. Most drivers wait until this time to book, meaning it could be days or even weeks before your tires are changed at the shop. The wait can be so long that many drivers start booking appointments before Thanksgiving!

Don’t find yourself stuck waiting for an appointment and compromising your safety in the meantime. Change your tires yourself, and you can get the job done on your own schedule. Try changing your own tires this year, and you’ll have them on your car exactly when you need them.

 

Follow these 3 winter tire installation tips to stay safe on the road.

Tip 1: Winter tires should absolutely be installed as a complete set of four. Otherwise, your wheels won’t all have the same amount of traction and stability.

Tip 2: Keeping your winter tires on their own set of rims will save you a lot time and hassle every time you swap them. They don’t have to be brand-new or the same as your all-season rims, but they must all be the same size as each other, with the same bolt pattern. Doing this also saves your regular rims from the wear-and-tear of driving in wintry weather conditions.

Tip 3: Try changing your tires yourself, instead of waiting a week or longer for the service centre appointment and hours for mechanics to get the job done.

Everyone should put on their own winter tires, and it’s easier than you think.

With the right tools and know-how, it’s absolutely safe to change passenger vehicle tires on your own. So stop living by someone else’s appointment schedule and learn how to change a tire with our step-by-step illustrated guide.