Tires are one of the few things that all cars tear up and wear down, no matter how much you take care of them. Good driving habits help, but keeping an eye on tire wear is an often overlooked task.
Fortunately, there are some simple tricks that can help get the most out of your tires.
1. Buy them off-season
Summer tires are cheapest near the end of the year and during the coldest months. On the flip side, winter tires are put on sale when things start to warm up, to clean out distribution centers. If you live in an area that gets snow and have space in your garage for a spare set of tires, you should shop around.
2. Shop around
Most people just go for what the tire shop recommends and in the process they’re losing money. There are dozens of tire distributors out there, it’s important to check what each one has to offer. Check for rebates too, because tire manufacturers will offer them to sweeten the deal. New models are coming out all the time, so buying the cheaper “outdated model” can save you a lot of money.
Driving with under inflated tires ruins your gas mileage in addition to wearing out your ties, and over-inflating a tire is just flat out dangerous. Inflating a tire around 5-10 pounds beneath the max, is a great way to save on gas when you’re about take a road trip.
4. Not All Tires are Equal
In areas that see a good deal of snowy weather, it’s best to buy a separate set of tires for summer and winter months. This guarantees good traction regardless of what Mother Nature has in store.
5. Patch It If You Can
You bought a new set of tires, you love everything about them and “POP!” you run over a nail lying in the middle of the road. It’s not a total blowout, but there’s a distinct hole with a noticable slow leak. Instead of tossing the tire, find the nearest Walmart Tire Center. Walmart fixes a tire for less than most tire shops. If the damage is beyond repair, get a new set of tires and put the other three up for sale on Craigslist.
6. Register Your Tires
Your new tires should have a warranty, so protect them by registering them and meeting the requirements of the warranty. Tire manufacturers often offer a 30-day test drive, so you can return them no questions asked during that time frame. Many tires have bonus options like road hazard protection, roadside assistance, and even replacement for material defects.
7. Get an Alignment
Your car will go out of alignment over time, there is no getting around it. When it gets bad enough, your tires will get ruined faster than you expect. Protect that investment and get your alignment adjusted, it’s worth the cost.