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Ten Things that First Time Drivers Need to Know About Tires

From 2015 to 2020 there were 15.4 million new drivers on the road, a rate of around 3.08m new drivers per year. In 2022 there are now 238.2 million drivers in the USA, which includes around 89% of adults.

For many new drivers the process of buying your first car, whilst exciting, can be a tricky road to navigate. Even more so, buying new tires for your car can be even more daunting of a prospect.

If you are one of those new drivers, then look no further. Here are ten things that first-time drivers need to know about tires.

Don’t buy used tires

After potentially parting with a significant sum for your first car, you are likely to try and be thrifty when purchasing tires. However, your safety is of the utmost importance when driving, and buying second-hand tires in a bid to save money could risk that.

They are likely to be worn meaning less traction and sidewall blowout is likely. That does not mean however that you cannot save money, so instead looks for the best deals on tires.

Check your tire pressure

After you have purchased both your car and your tires it is important you keep your vehicle safe to operate. One of the most important things to do is to check the inflation on your tires.

The recommendation is that you check your tire pressure once a month. Most cars recommend 32 to 35 psi in the tires; however, it depends on the kind of car you drive so be sure to read your manual.

Check the valve stems

Sticking with tire pressure, valve stems are integral to keeping that pressure at a good level. These caps help keep moisture and dirt out and provide an additional seal to the valve core holding the air in tires.

Know the weather

The temperature can affect the performance of your tire pressure. On average, the tire pressure decreases by about 1 PSI for every 10 degrees Fahrenheit drop in the temperature.

Wet weather can also be dangerous to drive in if your tires are particularly worn.

Check the treads

Your tire tread depth is important for traction and the more you drive the more those treads become worn. The tire tread must be more than 2/32 of an inch deep which can be measured with a tread depth measurer.

Know the limits of your tires

Every tire is designed for a specific performance which depends on the material used. For example, high-performance tires have better grip to make for improved braking distance and handling, mainly used for faster cars, especially on racetracks.

“All season” does not necessarily mean what you think

You see “all season” and automatically think that means you can use them year-round whatever the weather. However, these tires are actually made year-round in moderate weather. It is far safer to install winter tires in icy conditions for example.

Tires have an expiry date

A simple way to check if you need a tire change is to look at the expiry date. Many drivers don’t know that this actually exists, but manufacturers include a born-on date on their tires.

They are usually good for around six years after manufacturing, any longer and it may be time to replace them.

Know when to patch and when to chuck

Nails or screws used to be a death sentence for tires, but thankfully rubber is stronger than it used to be so there are plenty of occasions where this can be patched. A puncture in the middle of the tire is likely able to be repaired but the sidewall or shoulder means it is time to replace it.

Remember your spare tire

Many of us can drive around knowing we have our trusty spare in the trunk. However, just like the tires you are already using, these also have expiry dates.

If it has sat in your trunk for years untouched check for signs of dry rot or cracking before using it and be sure to read your manual as spare tires often differ from the ones, you are using.



The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com.

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