Most new drivers and car owners don’t know much about tires—in fact, most people in general don’t know much about this essential part of their driving experience. Understanding how tires must be maintained, when to replace them, and other important bits of knowledge greatly helps drivers out, especially since not understanding these things can lead to drivers being completely wrong about basic tire knowledge. To give young drivers a hand, here are four common tire myths all car owners should disregard.
“Lots of Tread Equals Lots of Life Left”
Many drivers are often surprised to learn tires sometimes have to be replaced even though the high tread would suggest otherwise. In fact, car manufacturers may recommend replacing a car’s tires every five to six years no matter the tread depth. Seven to eight-year-old active tires are like 70-year-old individuals—regardless of how healthy they are, they should not play full-tilt sports with healthy teenagers. As well, there is always the chance of a tire’s sidewall getting hairline cracks, pushing up its replacement date.
“Summer Tires Have Inferior Slick-Road Grip Compared to All-Season Tires”
The truth of this myth is that all-season tires trade slick-road traction for improved mobility in below freezing temperatures and snow. Oftentimes, improving a specific performance factor nearly always causes another performance factor to diminish (summer tires are sometimes more accurately called “three-season” tires.) The results become even more complicated upon switching categories or brands.
“Tires Burst If Max Press is Exceeded”
Brand new, quality tires aren’t likely to burst if the sidewall’s “max press” number is surpassed by a great deal. Admittedly, the same cannot necessarily be said for tires that have been damaged or are fitted on damaged or cheap wheels.
A tire’s maximum load capacity is determined by its max press and max load numbers, and it is air pressure that allows tires to carry loads. The more pounds per square inch a tire can hold, the more weight it can hold. However, tires eventually get to the point that adding extra air doesn’t add more load-carrying capacity—that is what “max load/pressure” means.
“Because the Same Company Builds Them, Budget Brands and Big Brands Are Equal”
Drivers get what they pay for, as with all things. Regarding how this misunderstanding came to be, tire companies feature premium brands where the company focuses researching, developing, and testing. As well, nearly all these companies manufacture other brands, building tires for places like auto-parts shops for selling under that store’s brand.
As tires go down in price, developing and testing drop quickly to the basic legal requirements. The difference might be so small no one can see it, or it might not be. Discounted, privately branded tires that big companies build won’t endanger any lives, but tread life, deep water resistance, traction, comfort, and noise control could be inferior.
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