Most Corvallis drivers know that tires wear out and that the wear has to do with tread depth. Most of us have heard that “bald” tires are dangerous, but most of us picture a tire with no tread at all when we think of a bald tire. And when we take our vehicles in for preventive maintenance, the technician tells us they're need to be replaced long before all the tread is worn off. Just how much tire tread wear is too much? And how can you tell? Tires are and their condition is important to the safe handling of a vehicle, so it's for Corvallis vehicle owners to know the answers to these questions.
First of all, it's important to understand that there may be a legal limit to tread wear. If your tires are worn past this limit, you have to replace them to be in compliance with Oregon auto safety laws. That's why measuring your tread wear is part of a vehicle safety inspection.
In some jurisdictions, tread must be at least 1.6 millimeters or 2/32 of an inch thick. This standard has been in effect since 1968. But this standard has recently been called into question, and some Oregon professionals are arguing that it be changed.
The safety issue that has brought this standard under scrutiny is the ability of a vehicle to stop on a wet surface. When a vehicle has trouble stopping, most Corvallis drivers immediately look at the brakes as the source of the problem. But tires are crucial to safe stopping distances because they provide the traction required in a stop.
A tire's contact with the road surface creates traction, which allows for effective braking. On a wet surface, a tire only has traction if it can get to the road's surface. So tire tread is designed to channel water out from under the tire to allow it to stay in contact with the road. If the tire can't shift the water, then it starts to “float.” This condition is called hydroplaning. It is very dangerous for Corvallis drivers since the vehicle won't stop no matter how hard the driver presses the brakes. Steering control is also lost.
A recent study tested the stopping ability of a passenger car and a full-sized pick-up on a road surface covered with only a dime's depth of water (less than a millimeter). The vehicles were traveling at 70 mph (112 kph) when they stopped on the wet surface. At 2/32 (1.6 mm) tread depth, the stopping distance was double that of a new tire. The passenger car was still traveling at 55 mph (89 kph) when it reached the stopping distance it experienced with new tires.
Let's suppose that you're on a busy Corvallis road in a light drizzle and a vehicle stops suddenly in front of you. You just bought new tires and you brake hard, missing the vehicle with only inches to spare. If you hadn't bought those new tires, you would have crashed into that vehicle at 55 mph (89 kph). That is a major difference.
What if your tires had a tread depth of 4/32 (3.2 mm)? You would have crashed into that vehicle at 45 mph (72 kph). Still not a good situation. But it's better.
Now what if you were driving that pick-up truck? You wouldn't have missed that vehicle in the first place, and you would have crashed at higher rates of speed in both of the other scenarios. The heavier your vehicle, the longer its stopping distance. It's a matter of physics.
The results of this test has led Consumer Reports and others to ask that the standard for tread wear be changed from 2/32 (1.6 mm) to 4/32 (3.2 mm). The increased standard will improve safety on the road and save lives here in Oregon and nationally.
Of course, until the standard changes, you'll have to decide whether you'll be willing to replace your tires a little sooner.
You can use an American quarter to tell if your tread wear is down to 4/32 (3.2 mm). Place the quarter into the tread with George's head toward the tire and his neck toward you. If the tread doesn't cover George's hairline, you're under 4/32 (3.2 mm). With a Canadian quarter, the tread should cover the digits of the year.
You can measure the 2/32 inch (1.6 mm) tread wear with a penny. If the tread touches the top of Abe's head, it's at 2/32 (1.6 mm). Tires are super important when it comes to vehicle care. But their condition has a major impact on safety. We need to decide whether to sacrifice safety for economy. Keeping our tread wear above 4/32 in (3.2 mm) is good auto advice.
Clayton's Auto Service 797 NE Circle Blvd Corvallis, Oregon 97330 541-752-2263 http://claytonsautoservice.autovideotipsblog.com
Ever notice that your tire is covered with writing? It's like some hieroglyphic art form. Of course, Corvallis drivers know that it's not just graffiti, but to most of us, it might as well be. Would you like to know what all those codes on your tire mean? It won't lead you to buried treasure, but it could help you make a better tire purchase at your local Corvallis tire store.
Prominently featured on your tire is a set of numbers and letters that looks something like this: 225 50 R 16 92 H. The first number is the width of the tire in millimeters, or the width between the sidewalls of the tire when it is fully inflated and not carrying a load. When Corvallis drivers replace tires, they need to match this width number, or the tires won't fit properly in the wheel wells.
The 50 is the aspect ratio of the tire, which is measured by taking the height of the sidewalls and dividing it by the tread width. If you drive off-road around the Corvallis area, it should have a high aspect ratio. For high performance on the road, you want a lower aspect ratio.
The R simply means this is a radial tire.
The 92 is the load rating index, or in other words, a rating of how much load a tire can safely carry. If you frequently haul heavy loads around Corvallis, you will want a tire with a high load rating.
The last letter in our “code” sequence is the speed rating on the tire. Not all tires have this rating. In general, the closer the letter is to the end of the alphabet, the higher the speed rating. In other words, Z is the highest rating and A is the lowest. One exception: H comes between U and V. Why? Your guess is as good as mine.
If you'd just as soon ignore all of the markings on your tire, that's okay. When you need to replace your tires just ask your friendly and knowledgeable Clayton's Auto Service tire professional for his auto advice on the best tires for you and your vehicle. Replacing tires is a standard part of preventive maintenance for Corvallis drivers vehicles. We all have to do it sooner or later. And the better we understand what we're buying, the better our vehicle will perform and the safer we will be on Oregon roads. Good vehicle care is informed vehicle care.
A lot of us Corvallis drivers like our vehicles to reflect our personalities. We're picky about color and body style. We'll customize anything from floor mats to window tints to license plates. One popular way for Oregon motorists to customize a vehicle is to get new wheels.
Wheels come in thousands of designs. Custom wheels can add personality, style or sass to a vehicle. Many of these customizations involve getting a bigger wheel.
Fifteen or 16-inch wheels used to be the factory standard, but today, because a lot of Corvallis drivers like the look of larger wheels, many vehicles are available with 17 or 18-inch wheels. Optional wheel packages of 20 inches or more are also available in Corvallis.
If you want to upsize the wheels on your current vehicle, however, you should know it's not a do-it-yourself project. There are factors involved in ensuring your wheel change doesn't jeopardize the safety of your vehicle.
First of all, you need to understand rolling diameter. The rolling diameter is the overall height of a tire. If you increase the rolling diameter of your tires when you upsize your wheels, you may have to modify your suspension to make sure the larger tires fit in the space and don't rub in turns or over bumps. If that's more work than you're willing to do or pay for, then you need to maintain rolling diameter when you change your wheels.
It's not as hard as it sounds. Imagine a doughnut. That doughnut represents rolling diameter, so you can't make the doughnut bigger. However, you can increase the size of the doughnut hole. That gives you a bigger wheel. Tires with reduced sidewall on larger wheels will preserve your rolling diameter.
Rolling diameter is important because your wheels and tires still need to fit inside the wheel well. Also, your speedometer, odometer and anti-lock brakes are all programmed to work with a specific rolling diameter. You'll throw off the readings on your speedometer and odometer if you change your rolling diameter. And for your anti-lock brakes to work properly, your rolling diameter has to be within 3% of factory recommendations. While some Corvallis drivers who upsize may not be concerned about meter readings, throwing off the brake system is a serious safety hazard.
Further, many vehicles in Corvallis are now equipped with electronically controlled suspensions. Changing the rolling diameter will negatively affect this system as well, which can lead to a less smooth ride and lower handling performance as well as safety concerns.
Your friendly and knowledgeable Clayton's Auto Service tire professional may be able to reprogram your vehicle's computer to adjust for a larger (or smaller) rolling diameter.
So to maintain rolling diameter, you'll need tires with a shorter sidewall. These tires will be designed to give the sidewalls the strength they need to maintain ride quality. Consider that doughnut again. As the wheel (the doughnut hole) gets bigger, the sidewall of the tire (the width of remaining doughnut) gets shorter. That means the tire holds less air. The sidewalls have to be made stiffer to compensate for the decreased air capacity.
To improve their strength, the shorter tires will also be slightly wider than your previous tires. But this means you'll have a larger contact patch, or, in other words, a larger area of tire making contact with the road. This can actually increase your handling performance and decrease braking distances. Many Oregon auto buffs customize their wheels just for this reason—they want the improved performance rather than looks or style. If you drive a truck or an SUV around Corvallis, you might be interested in the extra control an upsized wheel can provide.
Now, that larger contact patch still has to fit inside your wheel well without rubbing when cornering or when bouncing over bumps or potholes on Corvallis roads. This is termed fitment, and you may need a few adjustments so your new wheels will fit properly. You may need spacers so that your brakes will fit inside the new wheels, as well.
Clayton's Auto Service tire professionals are experts at mounting, adjusting and customizing wheels. They can give you a lot of good auto advice about wheels and tires and how they affect driving performance and car care. They can help you select wheels and tires that will suit your driving needs and habits.
For example, if you drive off-road around Corvallis, you should consider a higher profile tire. This type of tire will protect your rims from damage while you're bouncing over rocks. Or, if you tow a trailer or haul heavy loads around Oregon, you'll want a tire with a load rating equal to your demands. Your friendly and knowledgeable Clayton's Auto Service tire professional can help you with these types of concerns.
Once you've got your new wheels, have your service advisor at Clayton's Auto Service see if you need an alignment. You don't want those new wheels and your higher performance compromised by poor alignment. Get the most out of your investment by getting the work done right at Clayton's Auto Service in Corvallis.
Last but not least, remember tire pressure. With larger wheels, your new tires will hold less air and they'll need slightly higher pressure. You'll need to stay on top of preventive maintenance and keep them properly inflated. Be sure to check their pressure at least once a week. If you don't keep your tires at their correct pressure, they will wear out really fast. It will also affect your braking and handling performance.
So smile and show off your vehicle around Oregon. Make it all yours. Bumper stickers, vanity license plates, custom wheels — strut your stuff!
Remember snow tires? They were basically just regular tires with big, knobby lugs to get them through deep snow. They were loud and rode hard, and Corvallis drivers couldn't wait to get them off the car. Then along came television advertisements for “all-season” radials. Oregon drivers ran out and bought some and we thought we were done with snow tires forever.
Tires have come a long way since then. Modern winter tires sold in the Corvallis area are much better designed for the wide range of conditions that come with Oregon winter weather. They are made with a rubber compound that helps them stay flexible in cold weather. Regular tires become hard and stiff at Corvallis temperatures below 45°F (7° C) which reduces their traction. That's a concern in winter, especially with snowy or wet conditions. But it also means that Corvallis drivers are better off with winter tires in cold weather even when it's dry.
The tread design on winter tires has been improved to move snow, slush and water. The lugs and grooves throw packed snow out of the tread as the tire rotates. This means the tread is open and ready to move more snow when it rolls around again. Summer tires can pack up with snow, which makes them more dangerous than a bald tire.
The all-season tire that is popular among Corvallis drivers is a compromise between summer and winter performance. This means they give adequate performance for Corvallis drivers in either season but aren't great in either. Summer tires give great performance in hot weather but lousy performance in winter. Corvallis drivers need to put more thought into their tire choices these days.
If you want the performance that new winter tires can give you, you should have them properly installed by your friendly and professional service advisor at Clayton's Auto Service. It's best to purchase four snow tires and put them on all the wheels of your vehicle. But if you only want two, you need to put them on the rear of your vehicle, even if you drive a front-wheel drive vehicle. Corvallis drivers always want to put the tires with the best traction on the rear of the vehicle.
For more auto advice about tires for any Oregon season, ask your friendly and knowledgeable Clayton's Auto Service tire professional. They can help you find the right tire for your area and for your driving needs. For the best performance from your tires, whatever the season, don't forget preventive maintenance. Keep your tires up to pressure for the best durability, safety and performance, but don't overinflate them. Remember, good car care provides the safest road for all of us in Corvallis.
Shopping for tires in Corvallis can be bewildering because there are many choices. Let's simplify. There are four main classifications of tires, each designed for different purposes.
First off, there are summer tires. Those who buy summer tires in Corvallis are looking for maximum summertime performance. The rubber is a little softer to help stick to the road on fast corners on Oregon roads. The tread has wide blocks at the shoulder to stiffen the tire in turns. The tread design can handle rain but really isn't set up for snow and ice.
Next comes winter tires. Corvallis people buy winter tires because they still like performance driving when it's cold and slippery on Oregon roads, so they need a tread design that'll really bite into ice and snow. The rubber compound is formulated to stay pliable when temperatures drop below 45 degrees F/7 degrees C so they get great traction even on dry roads. On the other end of the winter tire spectrum are tires designed to handle well in severe ice and snow conditions.
The third category is all-season tires. Most new cars in Corvallis showrooms come with all-season tires. This is a tire that is designed to be used all year round. The tread design and rubber compound is a compromise that won't give you the extreme capabilities of summer or winter tires; but if you're driving and weather conditions aren't at the extreme ends of the range, all-season tires might suit you just fine.
The last category is what you might have on your SUV or pickup. All-terrain or off-road tires are designed for both highway and off-road use – a tire that gets good traction in the dirt and on off-road obstacles, but still performs well on paved Corvallis roads.
Choosing the right tire is important for Corvallis car owners. Talk with your Clayton's Auto Service tire professional about your driving requirements and receive valuable guidance on tires that will meet your needs.