When you’re on the hunt for a new car, certain details are likely at the top of your mind. All-wheel drive? Cargo space? How’s the color? Does the engine offer enough power? One detail few shoppers take the time to consider, however, is tires. Funny enough, you would think tires should be one of the most important items to check on. They connect you and your car to the road, after all. Continue reading >>>
The Autumn Equinox is September 22, but when the kids go back to school, summer is unofficially over. Sure, there are plenty of warm days left, but the nights have started getting cooler, and it’s only a matter of time before the leaves change and the chill of fall and winter will take hold. Now’s the time to start thinking about tires.
Automakers routinely tout all-wheel drive as the best way to deal with challenging conditions, but regardless of which wheels get power, the tires are the only parts of a car that actually touch the road. A good set of winter tires can turn a rear-wheel-drive sports car into a competent winter commuter car, while a set of ultra-high-performance summer tires can render an AWD-equipped car useless in the snow.
Why do you need winter tires? The fast answer is handling. Well-designed winter tires have deeper treads than summer or all-season tires. (The latter, by the way, are really three-season tires if you live in the snow belt.)
Winter tires’ deeper treads help them deal with snow and the icy precipitation that creates slush. An interesting side benefit of winter tires is that they improve traction by packing snow in those treads for better grip on snow.
Also, winter tires are designed with tiny slits in the treads (or as Bridgestone calls them “snipes”). These provide biting edges on ice that help with acceleration, deceleration, and stopping.
Ever since the advent of tire pressure monitoring systems, I’ve thought tires should have the capability of self-inflating. If the car can know when the pressure is low and then alert the driver, it should be able to activate a system to re-inflate while driving, too.
That bothers me every time the TPMS light illuminates on my dash, because it means I have to find my pressure checker, check all four tires, and scour my car’s crevices for lost quarters while hoping I can find a gas station with an air compressor or an open tire repair shop. That dang light has ruined more than one day.
I am grateful for the system, though, because it alerts me to possible screws stuck between the treads long before I’d think to check my air pressure. I’d rather spend an afternoon at a tire shop than stranded on a lonesome highway with a flat, that’s for sure. I just wish the tires would take care of the problem on their own.
Thanks to Goodyear, they just might.