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All you need to know about your car tires

Updated on April 24, 2015

All-Season Tires Vs Winter Tires

How do I choose tires?

Everybody has different criteria for selecting their tires. With the wide variety of possibilities available, it can be confusing.

Why all-season tires?

All-season tires are all-around good performance in a wide variety of conditions/seasons. They constructed softer and with longer tread life and quieter ride than performance tires. However, the more extreme conditions becomes the more performance is reduced which means it depends if you live in an area with extreme weather condition.

Why Winter tires?

Non-winter tires start to harden and lose traction below 7˚C. N-rated winter tires specifically tested and approved by Porsche use softer rubber compounds and unique winter treads for greater flexibility and grip on cold and slippery surfaces.

Much too often, winter tires are portrayed as "snow tires." The truth is, winter tires are not only designed to perform in snowy conditions, but they are intended to provide optimal performance in cold weather temperatures as well. Therefore, even in the absence of snow on the road surface, your winter tires will continue to provide you with the performance and safety you expect, thanks to the soft compound mix capable of withstanding extreme temperatures.

They provide excellent ride comfort and safety, exceptional grip in cold conditions, superior braking on ice and snow, outstanding resistance against aquaplaning, superb wet and dry handling, enhanced vehicle stability control operation and smoother take-off when equipped with traction control.

Two tires or four tires?

For any sets of tires installed on a vehicle, they should be same make, model, tread pattern, and preferably tread wear. This is to allow the vehicle to have even traction through all 4 tires for better control and handling. Especially during the fall and winter seasons with winter tires, tire grip will be much better in slippery conditions which equates to disruption in vehicle handling when only two tires are installed. That is why dealers recommend replacement of all 4 tires when need and rotating tires every 10,000mi/16,000km which is average once a year.

What to look for?

To have long lasting tires, you should inspect your car's tires for wear and tire pressures at least once a month or every time you fill up a full tank of gas, and before and after long trips. This will allow you to determine whether you need to purchase new tires, to rebalance the wheels, tires rotated, perform wheel alignment, and/or change your driving habits.

By simply reading your tire treads for clues, you can save yourself a lot of money since tire condition affect safety, tire tread life, and fuel consumption. Most tires will have tread-wear indicators on them. These indicators are bars of hard rubber in between the treads. This will indicate the tire is worn to 1/16th of an inch of the surface of the all-season tires. Tires are highly recommended to be replaced once it hits that mark. And at 4-5/32nds, tires are considered caution/marginal condition for the all-season tires and worn for winter tires, which means you may or may not consider replacement of tires soon depending on upcoming season/weather condition.

Therefore, measure it - and inspect it. Advanced and unusual wear can reduce the ability of the tread to grip the road in adverse conditions. Visually check your tires for uneven wear, looking for high and low areas or unusually smooth areas. Also check for signs of damage.

Clues on the tire treads

worn on both edges
inflate tire, check for leaks
worn on center treads
reduce air in tire
worn on one side
improper alignment
perform alignment
worn unevenly, bald spots, cups or scallops
improper wheel balance/alignment
balance wheel/perform alignment
Eractically spaced bald spots
improper wheel balance/worn shocks
balance wheel/replace shocks
only front tires edges worn
taking curves too fast
reduce speed
Saw-toothed wear pattern
improper alignment
perform alignment
Whining, thumping, and abnormal noises
improper alignment, worn tires, or shocks
perform alignment/install new tires/replace shocks
Squealing on curves
improper alignment/underinflation
perform alignment/inflate tires

Clues on the tire sidewalls

deeply scuffed or worn areas
do not drive/park too close to curb (be more careful)
bulges or bubbles
curbed, hit pot hole, manufacturer defect, weak/old tire
replace tire
somehow damaged/vandalized
replace tire
weak/old/expired tire
replace tire
can see metal ply
somehow damaged/worn
replace tire

Tires safety storage tips

Exposure to the elements and heat are the main factors that affect the speed at which a tire ages. Tires will age naturally, but by taking a few steps to properly care for your tires, you may be able to prolong their life.

Ultraviolet rays and heat are not good for the rubber in your tires. You should keep your off-season tires out of direct sunlight. When storing your tires, place them flat (to prevent flat spots when placed in storage for an extensive period of time) in a dry, cool location that is not close to electrical motors or machines. They can give off ozone, which can damage your tires.

How to read tire specification code?

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