What You Need to Know to Keep Rolling Through All Seasons

When it comes to replacing the tires on your car or truck, it can be a bit of an investment. It’s tempting to go with a cheaper set to save money, but this is one instance where quality matters. Doing some research and finding a good value on tires will ensure that they last a long time and give you good performance throughout their lifetimes. Our tire professionals at Kennedy Transmission Brake & Auto Service can give you options that offer the best long-term value within your immediate budget.

Not All Tires Are Created Equal

To achieve the best possible performance from your tires, you should purchase a set that matches the season you are driving in. Your first consideration when buying a tire is what the climate is like where you live and where you usually drive. In places like Minnesota and North Dakota, with dry summers and snowy winters, it’s a good idea to go with dedicated summer and winter tires, swapping them out each spring and fall. There are certain differences between each type of tire:

  • Summer tires are designed for hot temperatures. The tread is engineered for good traction on dry or rainy roads. However, the rubber compound in summer tires gets stiff when temperatures drop below 45°F, and snow and mud can pack into the tread, reducing the traction of the tire.
  • Winter tires are designed for good traction on snowy surfaces. The tread actually throws snow off of the tire as the wheel turns. The rubber compound in a winter tire is soft so that it will remain flexible temperatures below 45°F. At higher temperatures, however, the softer rubber wears down rapidly.
  • All-season tires sacrifice some of the performance of summer or winter tires, but they maintain adequate traction in either extremely hot or cold weather.
  • All-terrain tires are designed to handle the extra wear of off-road use while still giving adequate performance on streets and highways. There are a number of grades to choose from, whether you are only an occasional off-road explorer or a serious rock climber.

Make sure to choose the type of tire that best fits your preferred driving style and location in order to keep your car running safely and at peak performance.

The Problem with Custom Wheels

A car can be as much of a fashion statement as it is a vehicle, and the use of custom wheels has become pretty popular over the years. While it’s tempting to slap the largest, most outrageous wheels you can onto your car, most drivers don’t realize that this can actually be a hazard if not done properly. The rolling diameter of your new tires – the overall height of the tire while on your car – must be close to what came from the factory in order for your car or truck anti-lock brakes and stability control systems to work properly.

The computer that controls these systems is calibrated to a certain size tire. When you go bigger (or smaller), this computer doesn’t know what changes you’ve made, so it can’t tell how fast you’re going. This means it sends commands to the brakes and traction control that are based on the wrong tire size, and therefore the wrong speed. However, if you do go with a different rolling diameter, your car or truck engine control computer can be reprogrammed for the new tire size by a trained professional.

Have Your Tires Inspected by the Experts at Kennedy

When replacing the tires on your two-wheel drive vehicle, it’s essential to always replace both tires on the same axle, and always put the new tires on the rear so you don’t fishtail in a turn. All-wheel drive vehicles you should replace all four tires at the same time so that braking and traction control systems work as intended. At Kennedy Transmission Brake & Auto Service, our tire professionals can spot the tell-tale signs of tire wear and will recommend the right type of replacement tires to fit your needs. Find a location near you and bring your car or truck by for an inspection today!

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