The Ultimate Vancouver Tire Shop Guide: Tire Questions & Answers
Your vehicle’s tires play a critical role in safely getting you from point A to point B. And including your tires in your vehicle’s preventive maintenance routine will significantly help extend their lifespan. But, unfortunately, they won’t last forever. Even with proper maintenance, eventually, you’ll need to replace your existing tires.
For both tire maintenance and high-quality replacement tires, when that time comes, you’ll need to visit a local Vancouver tire shop. For many people, this can understandably be an overwhelming experience, especially with so many tire terms flying around and a huge array of options for new tires.
To help with that, we’ve put together this tire shop guide. We’ve covered the common tire services offered at professional tire shops, as well as information to help you understand your options when it comes time to shop for tires. Having this basic knowledge will help make your visit to your local tire store much easier and less overwhelming.
The Types of Routine Maintenance Services You’ll Find at Your Local Vancouver Tire Shop
The expert mechanics at your local tire shop know exactly how to care for your tires, ensure that they are wearing as evenly as possible, and help them last their full life expectancy. Routine tire maintenance services are crucial to the performance and life of your tires. You’ll find the following services offered at a professional tire shop and should be part of your regular vehicle maintenance schedule.
Your tires don’t all wear at the same rate. So, to help ensure that they can wear more evenly and extend their lifespan, the location of the tires on the vehicle should be regularly rotated. During a tire rotation service, your tires will be alternated from front to back, one side to the other, or a combination of both of those movements, depending on the vehicle and type of tire. A good habit to get into is having a tire rotation during each oil change service.
Tire balancing service helps ensure that the weight is evenly distributed around the tires’ entire diameter. Doing so will help avoid excessive vibration and uneven tread wear, both of which can cause a need for tire repair or replacement much sooner. Your tires’ balance should be checked if you are experiencing vibration in your steering wheel or floorboard while driving.
A wheel alignment service will keep your wheel/tire assemblies spinning optimally and in the proper position relative to each other and the road. Maintaining proper wheel alignment will minimize uneven and excess tire wear. You should visit your local alignment shop for a tire alignment check once a year, at minimum, or after hitting a pothole, curb, or obstacle.
Visual Tire Inspections
During almost any other routine service, your mechanic at the tire shop will also visually inspect your tires. They will be checking for damage or foreign objects in the tread or sidewall as well as uneven or excessive tread wear.
When you’ve got a flat tire due to a puncture or foreign object stuck in the tire, in many cases it can be repaired with a professional tire repair service. This is as long as the damage isn’t very large or on the sidewall of the tire. A good tire shop will adhere to the guidelines provided by the Rubber Manufacturers Association to ensure the quality and safety of the repair.
For proper tire repair, the tire will be temporarily removed from the rim so that the inside of the tire can be inspected too. Sometimes, what may seem like a simple repair caused by an object in the tread can actually have more serious damage hidden inside the tire. In most cases, the first part of the repair uses a rubber plug to fill the hole, and then a patch is applied over the plug to sufficiently seal the tire’s inner liner. A properly repaired tire can then be mounted back onto the wheel and continued to be used safely.
Warning Signs That it May Be Time to Buy New Tires
To determine if it is time to head to the tire shop for new tires, there are a couple of warning signs to keep an eye out for that indicate that a tire’s safety and structural integrity are jeopardized. These include the following:
- There are visible cuts, holes, or cracks in the tire’s sidewall.
- The tread depth is less than 1/16 of an inch (1.6 millimeters). (You can see the top of Lincoln’s head when you put a penny in the tread groove.)
- The tread wear indicator bar is visible.
- The tire has a bulge or blister.
- There is an excessive cupping/scalloping pattern along the tread. (This is usually caused by overly worn shocks and struts.)
- The tread is feathering. (This is when one side of the raised tread is sharp and the other side is smooth.)
If you notice any of these issues, bring your vehicle to your nearest Gaynors Automotive tire shop location to look into high-quality replacement tires.
Things to Consider when Choosing New Tires
Though they may all look almost the same, tires are not all created equal. There are various tire types available (see more on this below) that are all designed for different uses and driving conditions. So, it is important to select new tires that fit not only your vehicle but also your specific driving needs.
To help you narrow down your tire options, you should consider the following:
- Your vehicle’s required tire diameter: Before you start looking at different tire types, you need to make sure you are looking at tires that fit the required diameter of your current wheels. This can be found either within the numbers on your current tires’ sidewall or on the vehicle information sticker inside your driver’s side door.
- Weather conditions you’ll be driving in: Think about the conditions you drive in most frequently and the worst weather conditions you may face. You will need tires that can safely handle those weather environments.
- The type of road you’ll mainly be driving on: City streets, long highways, dirt roads, and muddy backwood trails all require different tire characteristics.
- Your everyday driving style: Do you appreciate a cushioned and relaxed ride or love fast, high-performance driving that hugs corners? Each requires a different type of tire.
The Different Types of Tires
The engineering specifications of many of today’s tires are based on road conditions and/or driving habits. So, once you have an idea of the specific environmental characteristics and handling needs you have for tires, you can focus just on the type(s) of tires that match those.
Here are brief recaps of each of the tire types available to help you determine which may best suit your location and performance needs:
As the name suggests, all-season tires are designed for high performance in almost any weather environment. These tires have an excellent tread life, provide a smooth and quiet ride, and are fuel-efficient. They can also provide decent traction in light snow, but will not perform as well in extreme winter conditions. They can’t handle sub-zero temperatures, thick snow, or ice like snow tires can.
These tires are designed for vehicles that are driven in cold weather climates that see frequent freezing temperatures. Snow tires can easily handle an extreme winter environment that all-season tires cannot. They’re made of a special rubber compound that will not harden in freezing temperatures and provide excellent traction in tough winter road conditions such as deep snow, ice, and slush.
Summer tires, sometimes referred to simply as “regular” tires in many areas, perform best in warm climates and provide excellent traction on wet roads. Summer tires also offer more grip and performance compared to all-season tires. But don’t try to drive in the snow with these tires. Summer tires are made of a soft rubber that hardens quickly in freezing winter temperatures, making them unsuitable for driving in cold climates.
These tires were specifically designed for use on high-performance sports cars. Performance tires, often slightly wider and with a lower-profile sidewall than other tire types, easily handle high speeds, provide superior driving performance when cornering, and grip the road like racing tires. But these tires have a lower treadwear rating and usually won’t last nearly as long as other tire types.
Touring tires are premium tires that provide a smooth and comfortable ride, superior handling, and minimal road noise. These tires are extremely reliable and provide a long tread life. Touring tires perform very well in the typical dry and rainy conditions like summer tires do. But they will not offer safe performance in extreme winter weather conditions with freezing temperatures, snow, or ice.
For drivers of trucks and SUVs that enjoy taking their vehicle off-road occasionally, all-terrain tires are a great choice. With deeper tread depths and an overall “beefier” appearance, these tires perform well on all types of rough surfaces, including rocks, sand, and even mud. But, even on normal roadways and the highway, all-terrain tires will still offer the comfort and handling that “on-road” tires provide.
If you mainly drive your vehicle in tricky off-road conditions, mud-terrain tires are going to be the best choice. The deep rugged tread pattern of these tires easily handles soft sand and thick mud better than any other tire type will. But, when driven on normal roads, these tires won’t provide as quiet or smooth of a ride as you will get with other types of tires.
If you are planning on buying new tires, don’t forget to also consider your vehicle’s spare tire. In the event you end up with a flat tire unexpectedly, this will be crucial. A spare tire comes as either a compact tire or a full-size tire. A compact spare simply serves as a temporary solution that should only be used long enough to get you to the tire shop for a new replacement tire. Alternatively, a full-size spare tire will, essentially, be a fifth tire for your vehicle. If one of your main tires were to fail, this replacement tire would keep you covered for the long term.
If you are considering upgrading to a different tire size or a different type of tire for your vehicle, it is highly recommended to consult with the experts in a professional tire store first (like you’ll find here at Gaynors Automotive). Our manufacturer-trained professionals can help ensure that you select new tires that properly fit your wheels and your driving needs without jeopardizing your vehicle’s steering, handle, ground clearance, and more.
You Can Count on the Tire Shop Experts at Gaynors Automotive in Vancouver
With the information we’ve covered above, you should be able to more confidently walk into your local tire shop and know what to expect, what to look for, and how to narrow down the options for new tires when the time comes.
When you are searching for the top tire shop in the Vancouver area, look no further than Gaynors Automotive! For all of your tire service needs, including tire rotation, tire balancing, wheel alignment, and tire repair, you can count on our expert team. We can help determine the best maintenance schedule for your vehicle’s tires based on their type and your driving habits. Our ASE-certified mechanics use professional tools and state-of-the-art equipment to help ensure you get the best performance and longevity from your tires.
When it comes time to shop for tires, at each of our convenient locations you’ll find experts who can answer any tire questions you may have, help you narrow down the options, and help you pinpoint the best new tires for your vehicle and your budget.
Plus, we truly are your one-stop auto care shop. Our professional mechanics have the expertise and experience to meet all of your vehicle’s service and repair needs, all while providing unbeatable customer service and reasonable prices. Schedule your appointment online today!