Tires, obviously, are four of the most important parts of your car. Even if you know how often to change them, you probably have some other questions; here are three of the most common, along with their answers:
- Is Tire Rotation Necessary?
Regular rotation is one of the most-neglected aspects of tire maintenance, but it’s actually a cheap and quick process. Depending on where you purchased your tires, you may be able to get them rotated there for free. And even if you pay one of your local auto repair shops to do it, you’ll probably end up with a bill of $20 or so.
Rotating your tires can make them last longer, give you better traction and keep your car from pulling to one side when you steer. That’s a big payoff for such a modest investment.
- How Accurate Is the Penny Test?
When people are assessing whether they need new tires, they often use what’s called the penny test to check tread depth: Insert a penny upside down into the tire’s tread; if Lincoln’s head remains completely visible, it’s time for new tires. The assumption behind this test is that a tire’s tread depth can get down to about 1/16 of an inch before the tires need replacing.
This is a cheap and easy test, so there’s no reason not to do it. But it’s important that you not get a false sense of security if your tires pass the penny test, either. While 1/16 of an inch is a good average for dry, even ground, people in areas with a lot of rain or snowfall should err a little higher. In fact, heavy snow might require two or three times that depth in order to get good traction.
- Should I Buy Used or New Tires?
There are plenty of used tires that have thousands of miles of wear left in them. If you’re considering used tires, inspect them for more than tread depth; dry rot is a concern, and separation is a particularly bad sign.
But new tires are always a safer bet, and they’re not necessarily more expensive — there are often cheap new tires for sale, too. Just be sure you’re getting ones that are appropriately sized for your vehicle and rated for your car’s weight and your average driving speed.
Do you have any advice on where to find cheap new tires for sale? Join the discussion in the comments.
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