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Tires FAQ

Tires FAQ

Shopping for tires isn’t always as straightforward as we’d like it to be. With so many types, brands, and sizes of tires on the market today, purchasing new tires can be overwhelming. That is why we’ve put together this frequently asked questions page.

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The tire experts at Tire Warehouse have been asked thousands of questions over the years. We’ve put together a list of the most commonly asked questions and answered them below. From questions about the physical anatomy of a tire to questions about the many different types of tires available, keep reading to have all your burning tire-related questions answered!

Tire Anatomy FAQ

>Yes, very much so (that is why Tire Warehouse encourages you to shop for tires by tire size or vehicle type). You should only operate your vehicle with tires that are the correct size, as tire size directly correlates to the proper functioning of a vehicle. Installing tires that are not the right size for your car could lead to pulling in the steering wheel, a stiffer and noisier ride, rubbing against the suspension, and reduced clearance on hills. It’s also important that all four tires on your vehicle are the exact same. A set of mismatched tires can lead to long-term problems and a shorter tread life. If after decoding the sidewall, you still aren’t sure of the correct tire size for your vehicle, find a tire size calculator tool online, call Tire Warehouse, or call the car dealership where you purchased your vehicle.

The tread is the part of the tire that makes direct contact with the road, and as such, it incorporates a variety of features to ensure the best performance possible. When shopping for tires, pay close attention to the unique tread designs of each model. Tread patterns are typically made up of ribs, blocks, lugs and/or grooves, and sipes. The size, shape, and frequency of each vary from tire to tire, depending on what the tire was designed for. For example, a tire built for snow or winter conditions will often have a very blocky tread with deep grooves and lots of siping, as these features ensure the tire is able to grip the snow and excavate slush. Whereas summer tires feature a more shallow tread depth and a stronger sidewall for better steering and handling on hot, dry roads.

Tire Types FAQ

All-season tires are designed to provide a smooth, comfortable, and safe ride in a wide range of weather conditions. Though they’re called all-season tires, they are typically best suited to just three seasons (at least in Canada): spring, summer, and fall. That’s because, while they offer exceptional performance in mild conditions, their abilities are compromised in cold weather. In fact, all-season tires should generally only be driven in temperatures of 7 degrees Celsius and above. All-season tires are designed to provide the necessary traction in all types of mild weather, from a hot summer day to heavy rainfall in October. Quality all-season tires will typically feature solid tread blocks and wide grooves, which provide better traction and stability in wet, snow, or slushy conditions, as well as better handling in warmer conditions.

Although all-weather and all-season tires are sometimes used interchangeably, they are not the same. The main difference between them is winter performance. For example, where an all-season tire performs best in temperatures of 7 degrees Celsius and above, all-weather tires are suited to both warmer and freezing temperatures. They offer exceptional stability on wet and dry asphalt, as well as solid traction on ice, soft snow, and hard-packed snow. Think of all-weather tires as a heavy-duty version of all-season tires. All-weather tires feature a mixture of blocky treads and siping and a flexible rubber compound that ensures they can grip snow and ice and won’t become too stiff in cold temperatures. Plus, all-weather tires are almost always Three Peak Mountain Snowflake certified.

Winter tires, sometimes referred to as snow tires, are far less versatile than all-season or all-weather tires, but they are the best of the best at what they specialize in: winter driving. Winter tires handle the most extreme weather conditions (including wet ice and heavy snowfall) with ease. The tread compound of winter tires has a higher concentration of natural rubber, which means they’re softer, allowing them to stay flexible even when temperatures drop. Winter tires also have a deeper tread pattern and lots of sipes to help excavate snow, slush, and water from the tires, vastly improving traction and hydroplaning resistance. In essence, winter tires are engineered to provide enhanced steering, grip, and traction in harsh winter conditions, such as sub-zero temperatures and deep snow. They are typically available in studdable and non-studdable models.

Summer tires, which are sometimes marketed as performance tires or highway tires, are engineered specifically for temperatures of 7 degrees Celsius and above. They often feature dedicated rubber compounds that allow them to provide exceptional grip and handling on both wet and dry roads in warmer temperatures. Summer tires are also designed to generate less road noise and to be more fuel-efficient thanks to their reduced rolling resistance. The tread design on summer tires usually consists of fewer and shallower grooves and larger tread blocks, along with a harder rubber compound.

The answer to this question largely depends on where you live and your driving habits. If you live somewhere that experiences harsh winter weather, such as freezing temperatures and snow, for months on end, then winter tires or at least all-weather tires are a must. However, if you live somewhere with mild weather, then all-season tires will likely get the job done. Make sure you’re aware of any tire mandates in your area. For example, some Canadian provinces require winter tires on all vehicles for certain months of the year.

Tire Pressure FAQ

The ideal tire pressure for most vehicles is between 30 and 35 PSI (pounds of force per square inch; this is the standard measurement for tire pressure). However, to find out the exact recommendation for your vehicle, look in the driver’s manual or check the vehicle placard/sticker, usually located on the driver’s side door. In addition to the recommended PSI, your vehicle will also have a maximum PSI, which is the maximum pressure your tires should ever be inflated to for safe driving. The max PSI can usually be found on the tire sidewall.

If your tires are severely underinflated, it could result in major failures like increased braking distance and overheating which could lead to blowouts. Underinflated tires will also wear down quicker, meaning you’ll have to get them replaced sooner. Unless specified, tires should never fall below 30 PSI, as when pressure is low, it can significantly compromise steering, handling, and fuel economy.

Yes, weather, specifically temperature, can affect tire pressure. That is why winter and summer tires often have different recommended PSI ratings. In winter, due to the cold temperatures, air contracts and the molecules move closer together. This results in a loss of volume to the tire, which quickly leads to lower tire pressure. Tire manufacturers like Firestone and Goodyear estimate that tires lose 1 PSI for every 10 degrees that outside temperatures drop. That is why some manufacturers of winter tires recommend operating them at a slightly higher PSI, usually between 3 to 5 PSI greater than the ideal pressure for summer or all-season tires.

In contrast, the warm temperatures of summer cause the air inside your summer tires to expand. Plus, in summer, the roads themselves are warm, which means increased friction and thus, higher tire pressure. For this reason, drivers should expect their summer tire pressure to increase in the first half-hour of driving before stabilizing. Overall, drivers must consider the optimal tire pressure not just for their vehicle but for the weather conditions in which they’re driving.

You should check your tire pressure at least once per month. It is estimated that most tires lose one PSI per month after they’ve been filled. It’s also worth noting that a tire can be up to 30 percent underinflated without visibly looking to need air. Thus, checking regularly will help ensure that they are always inflated to the proper pressure. Checking your tire pressure monthly is especially important in the winter when tires tend to lose pressure more quickly. That is why the optimal tire pressure for winter tires is often slightly higher than that of their all-season or summer counterparts. Beyond how frequently you should check tire pressure, the time of day you check your tire pressure matters too. Conduct your once-a-month check-up when the tires are “cold,” meaning they haven’t been driven recently. A popular time is to check first thing in the morning, however, if this doesn’t work for you, just be sure to check a minimum of three hours after the car has been driven. Checking your tire pressure too soon after the vehicle has been driven can lead to an inaccurate reading.

Checking your tire pressure is simple. You can do so at home or at a gas station. If you’re checking your tire pressure at home, you’ll need a small device called a gauge. Tire pressure gauges come in stick, dial, or digital forms. Whichever you choose, the process is similar. Remove the valve cap on your tire, press the tire gauge onto the valve, and then wait for the tire pressure reading to appear on the screen of the gauge. To ensure an accurate reading, we recommend repeating this exercise two or three times.

Shop Tires at TireWarehouse

Now that you know a little more about tires, it’s time to find the perfect set for your vehicle. Shop online at Tire Warehouse today and explore our unrivalled inventory of tires. We have tires to suit all makes and models of vehicles, as well as a wide variety of tire types (winter, summer, all-season, all-weather, and more), not to mention products from some of the leading tire brands in the world (Bridgestone, Firestone, Toyo, Michelin, BFGoodrich, and Radar, to name a few). Plus, Tire Warehouse makes shopping for tires simple. We have an easy-to-navigate website, fast delivery times, and low shipping costs. We ship tires all across Canada, with an estimated delivery time of 2 to 4 business days and shipping fees of just $5 per tire. Sit back, relax, and order a brand new set of tires from the comfort of your couch. Got a question? Give us a call and a tire expert will be happy to answer your questions or offer their advice. For a convenient shopping experience, unbeatable savings, and the largest tire inventory in Canada, look no further than Tire Warehouse.

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