Belle Tire Blog

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Bald is Not Beautiful When it Comes to Your Tires Tread

According to most state laws, tires are legally worn out when they have worn down to 2/32″ of remaining tread depth. Tread wear can be identified by using U.S. coins substituted for a tire tread depth gauge as tires wear. Consult your local tire retailer if you need help with the condition of your tires.

No matter where you live, or what time of the year it happens to be, there is always the potential for inclement weather. Any time it rains or snows and you get behind the wheel of your car, you can be faced with driving risks. Depending on road conditions and your driving speed, stopping on wet roads can take up to four times the normal distance. And if your tires are worn … they can hydroplane, or skim over the surface of the road with little or no traction.

Unfortunately, there are more people than you may realize who are sharing the road while driving on worn tires. Recently, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) conducted a study of 11,500 cars, pickup trucks, vans, and sport-utility vehicles and found that nearly 50% had at least one tire with half-worn tread wear. Another 10% had at least one bald tire.

Worn tires … especially bald ones … can be deadly on wet roads, where the grooves aren’t deep enough to channel water out from beneath the tread. The result is hydroplaning, where the tread wear allow the tire to skim the water’s surface and the vehicle no longer responds to the steering wheel. Wet weather braking and snow traction also decrease with tread wear on balder tires.

Industry advocates like the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) remind drivers to check their vehicle’s tires as part of regular seasonal maintenance. According to RMA research, two out of three drivers don’t know how to tell if their tires are bald.

The accepted standard for tires to be considered bald is when one or more of their grooves reach 2/32 of an inch deep, compared with about 10/32 of an inch for new tires. FYI – tire tread wear is usually measured in 1/32-inch increments. To make bald tires easier for owners to spot, manufacturers have placed a series of molded horizontal bars at the base of the grooves. As the tire treads wears away the bars become flush with surrounding tread when the groove’s depth reaches 2/32 of an inch.

Traditional tread condition has been easily checked with a Lincoln penny. Placing the penny upside down within the tread, if you saw the top of Lincoln’s head, the tire needed to be replaced. However, testing shows that you should consider changing tires sooner. There is quite a dramatic difference between the stopping distance of a tire with 2/32- inch of tread compared to 4/32. Using a quarter will help you quickly find out if you have 4/32- inch of tread left. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s wig, then it is time to get new tires.

Since tire tread provides the gripping action and traction to prevent a vehicle from slipping and sliding, a tire is not safe and should be replaced when the tread is worn down to 1/16th of an inch. Not only is it extremely important for your driving safety to ensure that your tires have ample tread, but it’s also very important to make sure your tires are properly inflated. It can’t be stressed enough … if you drive on tires that are bald or substantially under-inflated you risk injury, or worse, to you, your passengers, and other drivers on the road.

It’s important to understand the risks you face as a driver when driving in challenging weather conditions and the affect worn tires can have.

Winter Grip Slips On Worn Tires
Deep grooves and an array of small slits, known as “sipes,” help new tires bite into snow. Shallower tread and worn-away sipes reduce snow grip, affecting traction on acceleration and overall braking performance.

Summer Rain and Hydroplaning Starts Sooner As Your Tread Wears Away
Common sense should tell you that the faster you drive on wet pavement, the greater the risk of hydroplaning. Simply put, higher speeds allow less time for water to escape through the tread grooves. Shallower tread worsens that situation by allowing more water to stay beneath the tire.

Less Tread = Longer Wet-Weather Stops
Reduced wet-weather braking can be even more dangerous than hydroplaning. Compared with new tires, well-worn tires take much longer to stop, even on vehicles equipped with antilock braking systems.

To better protect motorists, the NHTSA has launched a tire safety campaign called: “Tire Safety: Everything Rides on It.” Through ads, brochures and radio ads, the campaign advises car owners to check their tires monthly, as well as prior to a long trip, to be sure they have safe tread wear, and will stress the importance of proper tire inflation and vehicle load limits.

About Belle Tire
People have trusted Belle Tire for the best value since 1922. Because at Belle Tire we challenge ourselves every day to make sure that you always get the lowest tire price, period. Prove it to yourself. Take the Belle Tire Price Challenge. Challenge us online, over the phone or even challenge us right in the store. Come in to any Belle Tire, and we’ll check other stores’ prices with you, right at the counter, and prove to you that Belle Tire has the lowest tire prices, PERIOD! Plus, at Belle Tire, you’ll always get out the door with more value, services and protection with every tire installation than the competition can offer, at any price! For the Lowest Tire Price, Period and great low prices on Custom Wheels, Alignments, Brakes, Batteries, Oil and Lube, Shocks & Struts, Windshield Repair and Replacement, and more. Visit http://www.belletire.com and also join our online communities: BELLE TIRE CARES BLOG | FACEBOOK | TWITTER

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Tire Reviews and Buying Tires

American tire consumers can easily shop low prices when buying tires and auto care services. The Internet is a great place for consumers to get tire coupons, oil change coupons and automotive part rebates. However, consumers don’t have to trade quality and customer service at the expense of saving money.

The Internet offers consumers impartial community testimonials, tire reviews, product and service reviews to help make the best decision for a vehicle and the needs of consumers. Moreover, the Internet provides consumers with tire reviews from other consumers who have bought tires, automotive products and auto services. The Internet also offers the consumer a way to engage with tire retailers and businesses who are listening. Tire retailers are providing customer service and communicating via more valuable social media tools today than ever before.

The increased listening, communication and accumulation of shared information or “Crowdsourcing” provides consumers with the ability to find trusted information on something like “buying tires” that traditionally came from only a smaller controlled group or an employee at a tire retailer. Instead, it is sourced by a community, who provides contributions based on having already bought the tires they are reviewing.

Niche websites like AskPatty.com have community functions for consumers to find and share information. Business Week reports over 80 percent of the buying decisions in U.S. households today are made by women. Other reports and statements show statistically women buy more passenger tires than men.

Buying tires is generally not an extremely exciting purchase for consumers to talk about. Tires usually come in one color, black. Anyone who owns a vehicle needs tires. However, these consumers want to know about certain attributes, such as ride comfort, handling, traction that consumers are discussing and they are sharing their opinions with other consumers.

The Internet provides a diverse approach for consumers to find viable information today to make the best decision when buying tires from tire retailers. However, the fact that the Internet provides the means for consumers to share this meaningful information with one another is powerful.

Understanding consumer feedback and marketing research both online and offline today is critical, especially in our high tech “mobile” society. All customers have a voice, needs and expectations. These days, tire retailers are listening and reaching out to their customers in better ways to exceed their expectations, thanks to social media.

Tire retailers and local car care centers cater to their diverse audiences and are providing a better customer service experience for all. Whether the customer is buying tires or replacing wiper blades, it is great when the voice of the customer is heard, understood and embraced. The Internet has have developed more comprehensive solutions for engaging, sharing information, advertising and retaining customers. Listening, sharing relevant information and appealing to individual customer needs is critical to provide the best experience for all customers.

Tire retailers and car care centers are adapting with rapidly changing times and listen to their diverse customer base taking the initiative to communicate more effectively. In today’s high tech fast paced world, consumers can feel comfortable when taking their cars in for service or buying tires.

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Tire Reviews and Comparison Tips

Summary: Buying tires is one of the most important purchases for a car. Tires perform quite differently in tests. Here are some things to consider when choosing the right tire on a budget to meet specific needs.

Tires need to be replaced a number of times during the lifetime of a vehicle. Even with advances in tire technology, tread life will vary by vehicle type, tire type such as AWD and 4X4 tires, driving habits, road conditions and weather conditions.

If your need for new tires has been determined after thoroughly inspecting and maintaining tires, identify the best tires for your vehicle and driving demands. Your local tire discounter can help determine this with you but there are some tips on how to choose that you should always consider.

How to Choose New Tires

1. Put safety first. Find tires that do well in braking, handling, hydroplaning resistance testing. Weather conditions should also be considered to learn about the tires traction and performance in snow and ice so that you can keep your passengers safe on the road.

2. Do your research. The Internet provides many great resources for researching tire attributes and tire reviews but the key to find the best prices is comparison shop. Visit your local tire stores when comparison shopping to find the best tire price for your vehicle because prices are not always listed online. Some tire retailers, like Belle Tire, can actually help you online, over the phone or even right in the store to check other tire stores’ prices on your behalf.

Also, independent tire reviews such as from ConsumersReports.com, perform tread life tests on tires that show that a manufacturer’s warranty doesn’t always indicate how a tire will wear. These independent tire reviews are great sources for nonbiased information that can help with your decision buying your next set of tires.

3. Understand what you are getting and avoid “hidden charges.” Once you have researched tire reviews and decided on the tires that suit you and your vehicle the best the technician should detail all charges associated with the tire installation. Many times tire dealers do not include installation fees and tire warranty charges in the tire price quote. Make sure that your comparison shopping gets you out the door with more value, services and protection with every tire installation.
Here is a list of what you should expect with every tire installation:
• Lifetime Alignment Checks – The alignment of your car is important to extending the wear and performance from your tires, and it’s vital to steering performance.
• Nitrogen Tire Inflation – Nitrogen is a safe, more stable alternative to filling your tires with air because it leaks out naturally much more slowly and does not react to changes in outside temperature.
• Lifetime Tire Rotation – The purpose for regular rotation is to achieve more uniform tread wear on all tires on your vehicle.
• Lifetime Spin Balancing – Every time a tire is fitted to a wheel, it should be balanced.
• Lifetime Flat Repairs – Flats happen. If your tire can be repaired, trust a tire retailer who is there for you when you need them with free flat repairs.
• A 36 Month Pro-Rated Road Hazard Warranty – Tire retailers such as Belle Tire offer a warranty to replace a damaged tire on your vehicle when an unexpected event occurs that ruins the tire, such as running over debris or potholes.
• Mounting Tires – Your tires should be professionally mounted by expert tire installers.
• Tire Disposal – Consider the environment and make sure that 100% of the tire is recycled and not put in a landfill.
• Rubber Valve Stems – The rubber valve stem, although a small part of the tire and wheel assembly, it is one of the most important parts.
• Hand Torque of Wheels – Many tire stores rely only on an air wrench to mount your tires and wheel but, by hand-torquing each lug nut to make sure that your tire and wheel assembly are securely fastened your safety is still the top priority.

4. Understand the kind of tire you need. Choose a tire type and size to suit your vehicle and driving conditions. The largest percentage of consumers will be satisfied with regular and high-performance all-season tires, but models for SUVs and other trucks and 4X4 or AWD vehicles are different than those for cars and minivans.

Researching tire reviews and performing your own tire comparison will help get your rolling again.

About Belle Tire
People have trusted Belle Tire for the best value since 1922. Because at Belle Tire we challenge ourselves every day to make sure that you always get the lowest tire price, period. Prove it to yourself. Take the Belle Tire Price Challenge. Challenge us online, over the phone or even challenge us right in the store. Come in to any Belle Tire, and we’ll check other stores’ prices with you, right at the counter, and prove to you that Belle Tire has the lowest tire prices, PERIOD! Plus, at Belle Tire, you’ll always get out the door with more value, services and protection with every tire installation than the competition can offer, at any price! For the Lowest Tire Price, Period and great low prices on Custom Wheels, Alignments, Brakes, Batteries, Oil and Lube, Shocks & Struts, Windshield Repair and Replacement, and more. Visit http://www.belletire.com and also join our online communities: BELLE TIRE CARES BLOG | FACEBOOK | TWITTER

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