Posts Tagged ‘Tire FAQ’

Fixing Your Tires: Patches vs. Plugs

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So your tires got a nasty hole! Alas, what’s a driver to do? Well, ultimately you’re going to have to replace your tire. But what if you want to drive on it for a period of time? You’ve got a couple options: you can patch or you can plug. Here’s some info:

flat tire


To Plug or Not to Plug
At least one article suggests that tire plugs are not the way to go if you’ve got a damaged tire. A plug will expand or contract at different rates from a given tire, and this can cause full-on blowout. Many people nevertheless still think of plugs before they think of patches, but the next time you’ve got a damaged tire, you might want to think twice before you reach for the plug.

The Winner = Patch
Patching a tire isn’t like patching a pair of jeans. Actually it kind of is. If your jeans were made of rubber, that is. A tire patch goes on the inside of the tire, which means the air pressure inside the tire pushes the patch outward. Contrast this to the unreliable plug, and you can see why the patch is preferable.

Looking for tires in Los Angeles ? Check out Discount Tire Centers! And leave us a comment: have any experience with patching or plugging a tire?


 Photo courtesy of  J. Star

Tire FAQ: Is it Safe to Drive on Old Tires If They Still Have Their Tread?

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Myths around automobiles abound, and in the case of cars it can be dangerous to base your approach on myths or assumptions. So let’s quickly dispel one common car myth, namely that it’s safe to use old tires that still have a lot of tread:

Wheels, you be getting too old for my Mercedes. You're retired!

Question: Can’t I Use Old Tires with Tread?

Answer: you’d better not. The bottom line is this: tires can reach the end of their lives without being used as much as they could. why is this? Because rubber, like most everything else, deteriorates whether it’s being used or not. And in the case of tires, which of course are the only part of your car that ever regularly touches the road, driving on worn-out tires, however much tread they have, is never advisable.

How old are your tires? You can find out by looking at the sidewall. Find the letters DOT and a sequence of numbers. The final four numbers tell you the age of the tire. 2007 indicates your tire was made in the twentieth week of 2007.

Hold old is too old? If the tire is older than five years, you probably shouldn’t drive it. Better safe than sorry – it’s a cliche’ for a reason!

Looking for tires in Santa Monica? Visit Discount Tires Center! And leave us a comment: how often do you check your tires’ tread and wear?

What Happens if You Drive with a Flat Tire? Watch this Video to Find Out!

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Flat Tire

Nobody wants a flat tire! But what happens if you get one and you don’t pull over quickly enough? Here’s a quick answer:

Well, if you’re driving and you get a flat, rule number one is to find someplace safe to pull over ASAP. How far you’ll be able to drive depends on how fast the tire is deflating. With a full-on blowout, you’ll only have 100 yards to half a mile. That’s the worst case scenario. Now your tire may only have a small puncture, in which case you might be able to go longer than half a mile, but you’ll still need to be very careful. Driving on a flat could destroy your tire’s rim and might even damage your breaks. What’s worse than that? Your car could catch on fire. It’s true.

Need further evidence you need to pull over ASAP once you get a flat? Watch this video:

Looking for tires in Burbank? Visit Discount Tire Centers! And leave us a comment: what’s your worst flat tire story?

Photo courtesy of Beautiful Lily.

How Can I Tell What Size Tires I Need?

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Most days you probably don’t think about the tires on your car, and that’s a good thing. You’ve got other things to worry about. But here’s a reminder that your tires are among the most important part of your automobile, and it’s important to make sure your tires are right all around: right pressure, right alignment, and right size.

American Muscle car

Here’s an answer to the common question: what size tires do I need?

An Ode to Placards

If your vehicle was manufactured during or after 2003, you’ll find a handy information placard, typically on the driver’s side doorjamb. If you don’t find it there, it will probably be somewhere on the driver’s side. On earlier vehicles you might also find the information on the rear passenger doorjamb (Ford sedans), fuel door, glove box or console door, or even in the engine compartment. If you still can’t find it, just do a web search for the location of the placard or the tire information. Easy.

Why You Should Check

It’s very important you replace your tires with the correct size, and in some cases vehicles are manufactured with different-sized front and rear tires. Don’t assume because you know the size of one set you know the size of both. When in doubt, search online for the correct size, and confirm with an expert!

Looking for the right-sized tires in Torrence? Visit Discount Tire Centers! And leave us a comment: how do you maintain and measure your tires? Do you know any tire tricks you’d like to share?

Photo courtesy of Moyan Brenn.

What do your tires say about you and your car? Quite a bit, actually

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Airborne monster truck

Your tires are the only part of your car that comes into contact with the road, so it makes sense you should know what they tell you about your vehicle. Because tires are attenna. What do we mean by “tires are antenna?” Simple: tires very often provide the first indication that something’s not right with your car. Remember to check your tires’ pressure at least once a month, and do a regular spot check each day. If a daily spot check is too much to remember, start a habit of checking whenever you fill gas.

Read on to learn what your tires can reveal about the health of your car.

6. Your Tires Have a Worn Center

It could mean: Your tires are overinflated 

If the center of your tire is worn down, it might mean the tire was overinflated such that the center-portion of the tire was taking most of the contact with the road. This is a tire pressure issue. If you have the tires set to the proper pressure and still experience center wear, it might mean the wheel and tire are not correctly matched.

5. Your Tires Have Cracks & Bulges

It could mean: Your tires need to be replaced

Over and underinflated tires are more likely to receive damage from potholes and debris than properly inflated tires, leading to the “crack and bulge” phenomena. If you see a bulge, it means you have to replace the tire, as it will inevitably fail.

4.Your Tires are ‘Scalloping’

It could mean: A problem with your suspension

No, not seafood – scalloped tires will have a series of rises and dips, the result of damaged suspension that cause the tires to bounce. Get your car to a mechanic and ask that they check the suspension.

3. Your Tires Have Diagonal-Patterned Scuff Marks

It could mean: Improper toe setting 

See diagonal-patterned cupping or scuffing on your tire? This is typically seen on the rear tires of front-wheel drive vehicles that have an improper toe setting. Improper rotation might also cause this, as could frequent heavy loads that mess with the suspension. 

2. Your Tires’ Outer Edges are Worn

It could mean: Your tires are under-inflated

The opposite of a worn center, if the inside and outside edges of your tire are worn down but not the center, it almost certainly means your tire is underinflated. Keep your eye on the PSI.

1. Your Tires Have Feathered Tread

It could mean: Improper toe setting

Feathered tread will look like ramps patterned sideways across the tire. The lower edges will be round, while the higher edges will be sharp, which you should be able to feel with your hand. This is often a consequence of improper toe setting.


If you’re experiencing one of these problems, it might be time to buy tires in Los Angeles. And leave us a comment: how often do you check your tires? Do you have any tricks to keep track of your tires’ condition?

Photo courtesy of Steve Jourvetson

Help! My tires are vibrating. What should I do?!

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It’s hard to imagine a car without tires, and when your tires aren’t performing as well as they could, you know your car’s suffering. If nothing else, it’s costing you in gas mileage, but if your tires are vibrating (often in the steering wheel or front of the car), then gas mileage might be the least of your worries. Here’s what to do when your tires start an unexpected shimmy:


Check Your Lug Nuts
The first thing to check when your tires have begun shaking is the nuts on all four tires. Are they securely fastened? It’s possible they aren’t tightened to the proper torque, in which case you’ve got a quick fix. Just tighten them, and if the shaking stops, you’re set.

ford wheel and lug nuts


Check Your Tire Pressure
You should also check your tire pressure. It’s possible one or more of your tires has depressurized, and this might cause a problem.


See if Your Tires are Out of Balance

Vibrating tires could also mean that your tires need to be balanced. Your tire balance can get out of whack with normal tire wear and tear, so if you feel a vibration while in your steering wheel (front tires) or in your seat (back tires) or both, then it’s probably time to get your tires balanced and rotated by a mechanic. Watch this video for an explanation:

If your tires are in need of a balance job, don’t wait too long to get them checked because that could lead to excessive wear on your tire, shocks, struts, steering and suspension. You could also end up having to get your wheels replaced.

Get Thee to an Expert

Tires still wiggling? Bring your vehicle to a garage and describe the problem.

It also might be time to buy some new tires! Here’s a link to tires for sale in Tujunga, and be sure to visit Discount Tire Centers online for great deal. And leave us a comment: how often do you check your tires?

Photo courtesy of Gordon.

5 Things to Consider When Buying New Tires

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flat brown SLS

Owning and maintaining a car isn’t easy, and it’s not something you should take for granted. A happy, cared-for car is a safe car, and tires are a vital part of this. You wouldn’t go around with torn-up shoes! Here’s what to look for when purchasing new tires:

1. Do I Need New Tires?

If you’re not sure you need new tires, it’s probably a good time to check. Examine the tires’ sidewalls and look for cracks or blistering, and do the old “Penny Test” to see if the tread is sufficient. Take a Lincoln penny, insert it into the tread, and if you can see Lincoln’s head, it’s time to replace your tires. When in doubt, ask an expert. Better safe than sorry.

2. What Tires Do I Need?

This can go one of two ways: if you’re happy with how your current set of tires worked when they were in top shape, simply visit a dealer (such as Discount Tire Centers) and ask they replace your tires with the same set. If you’re not happy, or think you could be happier, talk to an expert and see what your options are, and do some research yourself! Starting with…

3. Reviews

One idea is to get some options for replacement tires and, before you pull the trigger and purchase them, go online and read reviews. See if you can’t find reviews for specific tires on your make and model.

4. Summer v. All Season

Cars typically come with all season tires, but if you’re looking for more performance, swap the all season tires for summer tires. What you’ll lose in traction you gain in grip. Warning: you’ll get zero traction in the snow, so if you get caught in a storm with these, it could spell trouble.

5. Large Diameter Wheels + Low-Profile Tires = Trouble

Lately the trend for low-profile tires on large diameter wheels has caused some trouble for car owners, as this can lead to uncomfortable lives. If you find yourself in this situation, swap out your low-profile tires for touring or grand-touring tires for a softer ride. Warning: this will result in weaker handling and grip.

Think it’s time to purchase a new set of tires for your vehicle? To buy tires in Los Angeles or for great tire deals anywhere in the LA area, visit Discount Tire Centers. And leave us a comment: how do you monitor your tires and maintain your car? Any tricks you’d like to share?

 Photo courtesy of Tom Wolf.

Tire FAQ: How Can I Tell if My Tires’ Air Pressure is Correct?

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Tires are a really important part of your vehicle – no other part suffers so much wear or deserves such regular attention. But how often do you check your tire pressure really? Maybe it’s time to take another look, and here’s how:

little boy and giant tire


Three Possibilities: Over, Under, Correct

There are really only three possible pressures for a tire: overinflated, underinflated, and correctly inflated. Of course this is a matter of degrees, and perfection in anything is difficult to maintain constantly, but you owe it to yourself to try and keep your car’s tires properly inflated.

Underinflated tires become flatter, and and just 6psi beneath recommendations can lead to tire failure. It’s also hard on the tire’s life, and who wants to have to purchase a new set of tires earlier rather than later? Overinflated tires, on the other hand, put your tire in more danger of becoming damaged by a pothole or other road hazard. It also means a harsher ride.

Why Check?

Not only does having the correct tire pressure improve the way your vehicle handles, you’ll also improve your gas mileage. That’s good for your pocketbook and the environment.

How To?

So how do you know your tires are properly inflated? You go by look alone. Take them in to a professional or check yourself using a high quality pressure gauge. This little step will give you peace of mind and keep your tires happy for miles to come.

 Time to have your tires checked and maybe get a set of new tires in Santa Monica? Visit Discount Tire Centers! And leave us a comment: how do you make sure your tires are always properly pressurized? How often do you check? Maybe it’s time to check now…

How Can You Determine The Age of a Tire?

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You don’t need to be a car expert to know the age and wear on your tire are really important. It’s fairly easy to determine whether your tires are worn out, but how old are they exactly? Here’s how to check the age of your tires:

goodyear tires

Tires Since 2000

Since the year 2000 the year and the week a tire was produced can be found represented by four digits, called the Tire Identification Number.  The first two digits represent the week, and the second two digits identify the year. 0407, for example, would mean the tire was manufactured in the fourth week of 2007. Simple! You may need to check both sidewalls, but find these numbers and you’re set.

Tires Before 2000

Tires manufactured before 2000 received marks under the assumption they wouldn’t be used for more than ten years. The week and year only contain three digits, such that the first two digits indicate the week and the last digit indicates the year.  So a tire marked 107 means it was produced in the tenth week of the seventh year of a given decade. Unfortunately there’s no way to know what decade a tire was manufactured, although many tires from the 90s are marked with a triangle.

Have any tire tricks you’d like to share?  How do you keep track of your tires’ age and life?  Leave us a comment.

Looking to buy tires in Fresno? Visit Discount Tire Centers!

Photo courtesy of Robert Terrell

Tire FAQ: How Long Can I Drive My Car with My Spare Tire?

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changing flat tirePhoto courtesy of Seven Block

Maybe you know the feeling: you’re driving at a nice clip when suddenly BANG, your tire goes flat. You get to the side of the road, pop the trunk and, yes, you do have a spare! But here’s a question: how long can you drive around with the thing? Here’s a quick FAQ:



The short answer to the question of how long you can (or should) get around with a spare is: not long. Durability is one reason why. Lately car manufacturers have opted to include slimmer spares to save weight and space, and slimmer tires are less durable tires.



Spare tires, generally smaller and slimmer than the real deal, are less safe than regular tires, inasmuch as they offer less traction. This means an increase in stopping distance, which reduces safety.  There’s also an increased risk when turning if one tire is larger than the other.  You should only go as far as you have to on your spare.


The Bottom Line

Car manufacturers rightly suggest drivers using a spare tire maintain speeds less than 50 miles per hour and only go as far as is necessary. Read your car’s owner manual for the recommended mileage limit, but 70 miles is the usual maximum. It’s not good for your vehicle to drive on a spare longer than you have to, as it can put stress on the differential.  So if you care about your own well-being, and the life of your car, you’ll treat your spare the way it’s intended: as a stopgap and not a replacement tire.


Time to get yourself some new tires? For tires in Pasadena, visit Discount Tire Centers!  And leave us a comment: do you have any spare tire horror stories?