NBC Turns to Our Technician for Tire Safety Information

Posted February 23rd, 2012 by admin and filed in Tires and Wheels

Recently, NBC-2 conducted a story about tire safety and the dangers of driving on worn tires. Our own auto care technician, Steve Johnson, helps explain the safety issues worn tires may cause. Hear from Steve, as well as a Florida State Trooper and other auto experts on tire safety in this NBC-2 story.

Check it out: http://www.nbc-2.com/story/16946339/tire-safety-check-the-tread

Tire Safety: Where the rubber hits the road

Posted April 23rd, 2010 by admin and filed in Tires and Wheels

Four of the most important, yet under appreciated things on anyone’s car or truck are their tires. Many people show their ignorance for their personal safety by ignoring one of the simplest items to maintain. Know your tire condition! It is where the rubber truly meets the road. The entire expression of a vehicle’s power, ride, stopping and safety literally rides on these four rubber tires under your car.

The easiest way to check the condition of your tires is to look at them. Just walking around your car once before you operate it, look at the tires to see how they appear. Look for bald tread areas, exposed steel or fiber belts, nicks, back abrasions from curbs, etc., this can prevent an unnecessary crash. Besides visual checks, regular tire pressure checks are one of the easiest and important vehicle safety checks. Sadly, this is the most overlooked.

In a 2007 U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report to the Senate, it shares sobering statistics found by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). More than a quarter of autos and about a third of light trucks (including SUVs, vans and pickups) on U.S. roadways have one or more tires under-inflated 8 psi according to vehicle manufacturer standards. Why is this a big deal? It effects the safe operation of your vehicle. Under-inflated tires cause them to operate at higher temperatures and cause premature wear and failures, which in another NHTSA study (almost a decade old) accounted for about 250 fatalities and 23,000 injuries in a year. NTHSA estimate 41 deaths are due to blowouts alone. In 2008, transportation legislation was passed to require the phase in or tire monitoring systems on new car models.

We would be glad to check your tires during your next service. Our ASE technicians can show you how to check your tires. We recommend tire checks visually every time before you drive your car and pressure checks at least weekly. These can be when you fuel or wash your vehicle. Check this first thing in the morning while tires are cold.

Tire Buyer Beware: A recent ABC 20/20 report revealed that many new tires sold by discount tire dealers are actually old and have been dry-rotting in warehouses for three, five and even 10 years. These have been determined to be cause of many tire failure incidents, causing great risk to the unknown buyers. At Terry Wynter Auto Service Center, we provide premium new tires installed by ASE Certified Technicians. Regular tire maintenance and checks can help prevent unnecessary injury and it also improves fuel efficiency. Contact us by phone or through the web to schedule your next service.

Winter tires are not just for snow anymore

Posted January 5th, 2010 by admin and filed in Tires and Wheels

What type of technology do you use? Do you prefer an 8-track tape or an iPod? When it comes to winter tires, much of the public’s perception dates back to when 8-track was the best way to listen to the Bee Gees.

Twenty years ago, winter tires differed from highway tires only in their tread design. We called them snow tires back then and they had big, knobby lugs that were designed to give good traction in deep snow. They had the same rubber compound as regular tires and they weren’t very good on ice, packed snow or wet roads. They were not even very good on dry roads. They really helped in deep or loose snow, but they did a poor job the rest of the time. They were loud and rode hard. You couldn’t wait to get them off in the spring.

Then all-season tires started to come along. All-season tires are really a compromise between summer and winter performance. They have acceptable hot weather ride and tread life, and you can get through mild winter road conditions OK. But there are some really good reasons to consider winter tires.

Modern winter tires do a terrific job in a wide range of winter conditions. First of all, below 45 degrees Fahrenheit, regular tires become hard and inflexible. That means they don’t provide the road grip you need. Even if you don’t live somewhere with a lot of snow, but it still gets below 45 degrees in the winter, you will be safer with winter tires.

In addition, they are specifically designed to more effectively move snow and water. That’s the key to traction on ice, packed snow and wet roads. They use a micro-pore compound that allows the tire to bite into ice and snow. They also use wider grooves that run around the circumference of the tread to expel snow from the tire better. The lugs and grooves on winter tires have a special shape that throws the packed snow out of the tread as the tire turns. The tread is then open when it comes back in contact with the road and can provide good traction.

Winter tires also have a lot of sipes. Sipes are thin slits in the tread. The edge of the sipes grab ice and packed snow to provide tons of traction and to expel water and slush out of the tread. winter tires have a rounder casing to cut into the snow’s surface. The treads on regular summer tires can actually get packed with snow instead and become very slick. winter tires offer 25% to 50% more traction than all-season tires. And when it comes to stopping power, all-season tires take 42% longer to stop than winter tires. Sometimes that’s the difference between getting home safely and spending the night in a snow bank.

Now back when the 8-track was king, you just put snow tires on the drive wheels. That worked out OK because the rubber compound was essentially the same. Now, winter tires provide so much more traction than all-season or summer tires, that there’s a huge difference between the traction at the front and rear ends of the car if you only put winter tires on the drive wheels.

For example: if you take a corner on an icy road and the rear end starts to slide out, essentially the rear is trying to pass the front because it’s going faster. If you have high traction winter tires only on the front, they are going to be much more effective at transferring cornering grip and stopping power to the front wheels. This will actually cause the rear end to whip out even more.

That’s why tire manufactures instruct their dealers that they must install winter tires on the rear wheels as well whenever they put winter tires on the front end of any vehicle. It’s a major safety concern. It’s strongly recommended that winter tires be installed on all four wheels on rear wheel drive vehicles as well. The front tires do most of the steering and braking work – it only makes sense that you provide the front end with the best traction you can.

People often assume that if they have four-wheel drive or all-wheel drive they don’t need winter tires on all four wheels. Would you intentionally disconnect the four-wheel drive in poor road conditions? Of course you wouldn’t, but that’s essentially what you do if you only put winter tires on one end. It only makes sense to have the same level of traction and control at all four corners.

The province of Quebec in Canada has issued a law requiring all passenger vehicles, taxis and rental cars with Quebec license plates to install a full set of four winter tires between November 15th and April 1. It’s that important.

Many modern cars have traction control and anti-lock brakes so people may think that they don’t need winter tires. But you need traction to accelerate, steer and stop. The tires provide the traction so that the traction control and anti-lock brakes have something to work with.

Look for tires with the symbol of a mountain with a snowflake in it. This means the tire complies with the severe snow standard. All-season tires will have an M&S, for mud and snow, on the sidewall.

So when the temperatures drop below 45 degrees, be sure you have a set of four winter tires for maximum performance in snow, packed snow, ice, wet and dry roads. Your tire professional can help you find the right winter tire for your vehicle and driving needs.