TIRE TECH: Do I Really Need Winter Tires?[01/07/2017]

The primary concern that our customers express is that they don't want to get "stuck" in the snow (or in the ditch) during the winter.

While in cities like Atlantic City, Memphis and Seattle located at the extreme edges of the snow belt, relatively new All-Season tires will probably work just fine. But the odds change as you move further into the snow belt or the All-Season tires have a few years of wear on them. And who wants to gamble...especially when their collision deductible and future insurance premiums are on the table.

We all know that tires are a compromise. One tire can't be the fastest on the track, most controllable in the snow, and longest wearing. The Ultra High Performance tire that grips the track with tread temperatures of 200° is incompetent as its tread compound becomes like "hard plastic" at below 32°. Today's 80,000-mile tires require tread designs and compounds that maximize long, even wear... not winter traction. And while many of today's all-season tires (Original Equipment, touring and performance) address some of these issues, they still emphasize longer wear, a quieter ride or greater performance...not winter traction.

Only winter tires are designed to excel in the colder temperatures, slush, snow and ice that many parts of the country experience for three or more months a year.

It's also important to note that the recent advancements in electronic driver aids, such as ABS and traction control don't provide more traction. They only help prevent drivers from over braking or overpowering the available traction of their tires. The only thing the driver can do to increase actually get more grip and control... is install better tires.

WHEEL TECH: Alloy vs. Steel Wheels in Winter Tire & Wheel Packages[28/06/2017]

When creating a Winter Tire & Wheel Package you can choose either an aftermarket alloy wheels or a steel wheel for your vehicle.

Use the descriptions below to help determine the best choice for you.

Alloy Wheels
Enhance the look of your vehicle
Are manufactured to precise standards to meet exact fitment and performance needs
Weigh less than steel wheels and have superior strength
May be the preferred option for your vehicle based on fitment requirements
Will allow for better brake clearance (depending on wheel style and brake components installed)
Require proper maintenance as finish damage may result in the harshest winter climates where salt and sand are routinely used
Steel Wheels
Meet the basic needs of drivers who want the convenience of a winter tire package without the additional cost of an alloy wheel
Typically available in black or silver finish depending on the application
Basic styling can often be updated with wheel covers
Cost less than alloy wheels due to ease of manufacturing and lower material costs

TIRE TECH: Diagnosing Tire Pull[23/06/2017]

Tyres are manufactured by assembling components made of rubber, fabric cord and steel wire that are cured together in a mold. Under intense heat and pressure during the curing process, the rubber reaches a near liquid state before vulcanization takes place finalizing the tire's exact size, structure and shape.

If a tyre's internal components are misaligned as it cures, it is possible that unequal internal forces may cause the vehicle to pull to the side, even when it is steered straight ahead. When this occurs with a brand new tyres it is typically due to conicity, a manufacturing glitch where a tire's tread has cured slightly cone shaped rather than in the desirable uniform cylinder shape.

A tire that has conicity due to a manufacturing error will be apparent right after installation or immediately following the first time the tires are rotated. Because of this, tire manufacturers warranties only cover this condition early in the tire's life.

If tire pull first becomes noticeable after many miles of driving on a tire, it is typically due to driving conditions or vehicle misalignment that has caused the tire's tread to wear on an angle (with one side wearing faster than the other), or allowed the tire on the left side of the axle to wear faster than the tire on the right side of the same axle.

If a vehicle has a pulling problem, the alignment should be checked (including cross camber, cross caster and thrust angle settings). If the alignment is at the manufacturer's preferred settings or appropriately within the range, the following procedure can be used to confirm which tire is causing the pull.

The following steps must be used to isolate a pulling tire. Click here for a downloadable version of these instructions.

Step 1
Action to be Taken
Rotate the two front tires from side-to-side. Directional tires can be moved from side-to-side for testing purposes. The short time that they are on the vehicle backwards will not harm the tire.

If the vehicle pulls in the opposite direction, the defective tire is one of the front tires. 
If the vehicle pulls in the same direction the problem is either with one of the rear tires or is not a tire-related problem. 
Step 2
Action to be Taken
Rotate the front tire on the side of the car that is in the direction of the pull, to the rear of the car.

If the pull no longer exists or diminishes greatly, the tire that was moved to the rear of the car is the defective tire.
If the pulling does not change, the defective tire is isolated to the front tire that was not moved in Step 2.
Step 3
Action to be Taken
Rotate the two rear tires from side to side.

If the vehicle pulls in the opposite direction, the defective tire is one of the rear tires. 
If the pulling tire does not change, the problem is not tire related. The car should be checked for possible misalignment or suspension wear.
Step 4
Action to be Taken
Rotate the rear tire on the side of the car that is in the direction of the pull to the front of the car.

If the vehicle pull becomes more severe, the defective tire is isolated to the tire that was rotated to the front of the car.
If the pulling does not change, the defective tire is isolated to the rear tire that was not rotated.
A tire diagnosed as a pulling tire is a manufacturer's defect. The tire is covered under warranty only during the first 25% of tread wear. The defect is caused by the belts being incorrectly aligned during manufacture.

WHEEL TECH: Performance Benefits[18/06/2017]

While many people choose aftermarket alloy wheels for their beauty, there are equally important performance benefits to be derived.

Reduced Unsprung Weight Compared to Steel Wheels
This is one of the most critical factors affecting a vehicle's road holding ability. Unsprung weight is that portion of a vehicle that is not supported by the suspension (i.e. wheels, tires and brakes) and therefore, most susceptible to road shock and cornering forces. By reducing unsprung weight, alloy wheels provide more precise steering input and improved "turning in" characteristics.

Improved Acceleration and Braking
By reducing the weight of the vehicle's rotational mass, alloy wheels provide more responsive acceleration and braking.

Added Rigidity
The added strength of a quality alloy wheel can significantly reduce wheel/tire deflection in cornering. This is particularly critical with an automobile equipped with high performance tires where lateral forces may approach 1.0g.

Increased Brake Cooling
The metals in alloy wheels are excellent conductors of heat - improving heat dissipation from the brakes - reducing risk of brake fade under demanding conditions. Additionally, alloy wheels can be designed to allow more cooling air to flow over the brakes.

TIRE TECH:Mixing Tires[17/06/2017]

As a general rule, tyres should not be mixed on any vehicle unless specified as acceptable by the tire or vehicle manufacturer. Drivers should avoid mixing tires with different tread patterns, internal constructions or sizes, and use identical tires on all of their vehicle's wheel positions in order to maintain the best control and stability. Additionally, drivers should never mix winter tires with all-season/summer tires, or mix run-flat tires with non-run-flat tires.

This is one of the reasons that it is desirable to have all of a vehicle's tires wear out at the same time. It's confirmation that the vehicle design, driving conditions and maintenance practices worked in unison to equalize tire wear and performance. It also lets drivers know they got their money's worth out of the current tires and allows them to choose a set of replacements that will either maintain the Original Equipment (O.E.) tires' capabilities, or help tune the vehicle's qualities to even better suit their needs.

Unfortunately wearing out all tires at the same time isn't always possible. Sometimes vehicle design, the use of differently sized tires on front and rear axles, insufficient maintenance and/or driving conditions conspire to prevent it from happening.

If a vehicle's tires don't all wear out at the same time, drivers are typically forced to decide whether they should purchase a new set of tires (forfeiting the worth of the two tires not fully worn out) or just a pair of replacements. While purchasing a new set of tires is best because it will maintain the handling balance engineered into the vehicle while restoring poor weather traction, it is also more expensive. And while purchasing a pair of replacement tires reduces immediate expense, it brings with it the options of choosing exact, equivalent or alternative tires.

Of the three, the best choice is to select the exact tire currently on the vehicle. This assures that the tire's physical dimensions, internal construction, tread design and tread compound are equal to the tires being replaced.

The second option is to choose equivalent tires from the same tire performance category that share the same speed rating, handling and traction characteristics of the original tires. While this isn't as desirable as selecting the exact tire currently on the vehicle, it can become necessary when the original tires are no longer available.

The third option, choosing alternative tires, should only be considered as a temporary solution in an emergency situation. Using alternative tires from different tire performance categories, with alternate sizes or different speed ratings can unbalance the vehicle's handling in poor weather or when pushed to the limit in an emergency.

Because tires play such an important role in every vehicle's comfort qualities and handling capabilities, it is always best to drive on tires that are identical in every detail,  including tire brand, model, size and remaining tread depth. Anything else involves some type of compromise.

WHEEL TECH: The Plus Concept[15/06/2017]

Plus sizing your wheels and tires is the best way to improve both the performance and appearance of your vehicle. By using a larger diameter wheel with a lower profile tire it's possible to properly maintain the overall diameter of the tire, keeping odometer and speedometer changes negligible. By using a tire with a shorter sidewall, you gain quickness in steering response and better lateral stability. The visual appeal is obvious, most wheels look better than the sidewall of the tire, so the more wheel and less sidewall there is, the better it looks. Please contact our sales team for assistance in the proper sizing for your vehicle.

TIRE TECH:Storing Tires[14/06/2017]

Since heat and exposure to the elements are the important factors that influence a tire's aging process, drivers can prolong their tire's life by minimizing their impact. Here are some tips for storing tyres that will not be used continuously.

Don't store a vehicle with weight on its tires for extended periods of time. Long-term inactivity is more harmful to tires than weekly drives that flex the tires and help maintain oil dispersion within the rubber compounds.
Keep the tires out of direct sunlight whenever possible. The sun's ultraviolet rays and radiant heat are detrimental to rubber. We have used a pyrometer to measure tires that were simply sitting in direct sunlight on a parked vehicle. Surprisingly those tires' temperatures measured 135° Fahrenheit on their surface.
Before storing, use a tire brush to clean each tire with soap and water to remove brake dust, dirt and grime. If the tires are still mounted on wheels, use a wheel brush to clean the wheels with an approved cleaner as well. Dry with a towel and let any remaining moisture thoroughly evaporate.
DO NOT APPLY ANY TIRE DRESSINGS. Tire compounds are formulated to resist ozone cracking or weather checking.
Place each clean and dry tire in its own large, opaque, airtight plastic bag (such as lawn and garden bags) for storing. Avoid allowing any moisture to remain and remove as much air as practical (some drivers even use a vacuum cleaner to draw out as much as possible). Close the bag tightly and tape it shut. This places the tire in its own personal mini-atmosphere to help reduce oil evaporation.
While Seasonal Tire Totes make it neater to store tires, easier to carry tires and reduce the possibility of depositing brake dust, dirt and grime in the trunk or on the back seat during transportation, Seasonal Tire Totes are not airtight nor designed to prevent exposure to the atmosphere. The recommended solution would be to place each clean tire and wheel into the airtight plastic bag and then cover the sealed bag with a Tire Tote.
If you choose not to store white letter/white stripe tires in plastic bags, it is important they be stored or stacked white-to-white and black-to-black to prevent staining the white rubber. The black rubber used on the tires' white letter/white stripe side is compounded differently than the black rubber used on the opposite side. A layer of non-staining black rubber covers the white rubber on the tire's white side to prevent oils in the tire from migrating into the exposed white rubber and discoloring it; however the black sidewall uses standard rubber. Stacking all tires white sidewall up will allow the oils from each tire's black sidewall to migrate into the white rubber of the tire below it.
Place the tires in a cool, dry location. It is better to store tires in a dry basement or climate-controlled workshop than in a standard garage, storage shed, hot attic or outdoors. While basement and shop surroundings tend to remain cool and dry, conditions found in typical garage, shed, attic and outdoor locations often include a wide range of hot and cold temperatures, as well as seasonal precipitation and humidity.
Keep the tires away from sources of ozone. Electric motors that use contact brushes generate ozone. Keep your tires away from the furnace, sump pump, etc.
While tires will age somewhat regardless of what precautions are taken, these procedures will help slow the process compared to taking no precautions at all.
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