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Tires: The When, Which and Why of Buying Tires

Repair 32x32The industry measures tire tread depth in increments of 32nds of an inch, or x/32″. Tires start out life at around 10/32″. They are technically worn out at 3/32″, but also can be unusable due to old, hard or cracking rubber. Modern cars have tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) that wirelessly and continuously check your tire inflation. Tires that run under inflated run hot, and can melt the inside surface into little rubber balls. A blow out can endanger a driver and any nearby cars. Old rubber may not stick on wet or cold streets and highways. Low tread depth is a recipe for hydroplaning in a storm. Tires must be replaced when they are worn out or damaged.

Tires red border 2Karmakanix offers a wide variety of new tire options from many well known brands including Michelin, Bridgestone, Continental, and Kumho. We try to keep our prices competitive with other dealers and online outlets. When buying tires it is important to follow the factory recommended specifications for size and load rating. If you have aftermarket wheels we will do our best to advise on the proper tires. In accordance with a recent state law, Karmakanix checks for tread depth and sets tire pressure every time your vehicle comes in for a visit. And we have always done so.

Why Spend Good Money for Good Tires?

red borderUnderstand that there are cheaper tires available, but there are downsides to saving money on tires. Cheaper tires can have poor quality rubber that gets hard within a few years, then the car brakes and handles poorly. More important is the balance aspect of the construction. Less expensive tires can require large amounts of balance weights when installed. That means a heavy spot in the tread that never goes away. The heavy spot will hit the road harder every time the tire spins at speed, and will wear more, becoming out of balance. That tire will require balancing soon, but also turns into a potential suspension wearing problem. Even before the driver can feel a vibration, cheaper tires can be vibrating and wearing down your tie rods and ball joints, your struts and shocks, leading to expensive repairs that tower above the initial savings.

The best tires have high silicon content in the rubber, and thus stick well in the cold and wet, even when old age sets in. They must be properly load rated, meaning matched to the weight of the vehicle. A tire load rated for a light car may blow out if used on a heavily loaded van. Ask your Service Advisor for the proper quality tires.

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