Tire Wear: Strategies to Get the Most Out of Your Rubber

All tires – winter, summer, all-seasons, etc. – wear with use. How do you know when it’s time to replace them? When is regular maintenance enough? How can you reduce tire wear to keep your tires for as long as possible? Let’s go over some tire maintenance tips and driving strategies to help you get the most out of your rubber. 

Ongoing Tire Maintenance 

The most important part of tire maintenance is inflation. Incorrectly inflated tires can increase your risk of a blowout, decrease your fuel economy, cause excessive tire wear, and reduce traction (especially when braking and cornering). 

Check tire pressure every month. Keep in mind that, colder temperatures can lower the air pressure while warmer temperatures can bring it up. During your tire pressure check, look for any cracks, punctures, or abnormal wear. 

This may sound obvious, but don’t forget to use the right tires for the season. For example, winter tires can’t handle the heat and are more likely to blow out if you use them during the summer. During winter, a set of summer tires will stiffen, lose traction and elasticity, and possibly crack. 

Aligning, Balancing, and Rotating 

Aside from regular pressure checks and visual inspections, professionally servicing your tires at regular intervals will help extend their life (and keep you safe on the road).

Wheel Alignment 

At least once or twice per year, your car’s wheels need to be aligned. If the wheels aren’t parallel, your tires will scuff the road instead of gripping it, speeding up tire wear, decentring the steering wheel, and reducing your vehicle’s fuel economy.

Tire Balancing 

Whenever you change your tires for the season, have them balanced. Properly balanced tires ensure a smooth ride, improved traction and steering control and, of course, extended tire life.

Tire Rotation

To further extend their lifetime, get your tires rotated every 8,000 to 10,000 kilometres. Many drivers combine tire rotation with oil changes. 

Tires will wear at different speeds depending on their position. By rotating them, you can help the tires to wear evenly. Your NAPA AUTOPRO service centre will recommend the best rotation pattern for your vehicle. 

(We don’t recommend replacing individual tires – that can lead to many problems, including reduced fuel efficiency, difficulties in handling the vehicle, and traction problems.) 

Your owner’s manual will provide further advice on when to have these services done. 

Driving Tips 

You can also help your tires last longer by following these driving tips: 

  • Avoid potholes and rough roads (i.e., gravel). If you must go over these surfaces, take it slow
  • Don’t scrape the tires along the curb when parking. 
  • Drive smoothly; avoid sudden acceleration and braking. 

What About Electric Vehicles? 

If you drive an electric vehicle (EV), all of these tire strategies apply to you too. In fact, EV tires are one part of an EV that might need more maintenance than regular cars. 

Because of the extra weight of the battery, EVs are much heavier than regular cars, which causes faster tire wear. With an EV, increase the frequency of your tire inflation checks to every two weeks. 

Most standard tires will work on EVs, but they may not maximize efficiency or quietness. Several major tire manufacturers now make tires specifically for EVs, so be sure to browse your options. 

To get your tires assessed or replaced, or to ask about tire maintenance, visit your local NAPA AUTOPRO service centre to speak with an expert.

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