Borgman How To: Caring For & Inspecting Your Tires

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Learn More About How To Care For Your Tires by Understanding How They Work

Tires are an integral part of your vehicle, and Borgman is here to help you make sure they stay in good shape for as long as possible. Tires have quite the job description: they carry the vehicle everywhere throughout Grand Rapids and West Michigan, they keep road noise down, the ride smooth, and keep your grip in slick conditions. To achieve all of this, there is a fair bit of physics and chemistry at play, but you don't really have to worry about any of that. Getting peak performance out of your tires from Borgman is as simple as giving them a look-over every month. Below, we've provided a punch list of what to look for and tips to keep your tires in tip-top shape.

Anatomy of a Tire & Fast Tips:

  • Tread: The part that comes into contact with the road. This part can vary in composition or pattern depending on intended use. Snow tires will have deeper treads and a different blend of rubber than all-season tires and so on.
  • Sidewall: Shows all of the technical information about the tire, protects the tire against minor scrapes with the curb, and provides structure to the tire.
  • Bead: A rigid ring along the tire's openings at the base of the sidewall that wraps around the rim, producing that nearly-airtight seal.
  • Air pressure is measured in pounds per square inch (psi.) Typically, tires should be inflated to 33 psi, but check your vehicle's specified number.
  • Tires naturally lose about 1 psi of pressure every month.
  • Because cold air is denser than warm air, tires also lose an additional 1 psi for every 10-degree drop in outside air temperature. That can be why they all appear to be going flat in the fall months.
  • Those little 'hairs' on a new set of tires are actually called 'vent spews,' and are a result of air being forced out of the tire mold during production. Other than proving that a tire is new, they have no bearing on performance whatsoever.
  • If you get a flat, installing your vehicle's spare tire is always preferable. If you absolutely have to use an aerosol sealant, please let us know during your visit. That way we know to clean everything and check your tire pressure monitoring system.

Things to Know When Checking Your Tires

First, read the safety and roadside emergency information in your owner’s manual. Frankly, it's much better to be familiar with the contents before it's a necessity. Step by step directions for changing the spare tire is in here.

There is also an important distinction that we need to point out, and that's the difference between the maximum and operating tire pressure. Maximum pressure is molded onto the tire's sidewall, and pressure in the tire should never exceed this number. Operating tire pressure is what you aim for when filling your tires.

Before we take an air pressure reading, ask yourself, "Are the tires warm?" To get the most accurate reading, your tire pressure needs to be checked “cold,” meaning the vehicle has been parked for at least an hour and in the shade. Even if it's a cool day and you only drove a mile, friction between the road and the rubber builds up heat and expands the air in the tire which throws off your reading. If you have to check them warm, subtract about 4 to 6 psi from your reading to compensate.

Remove the tire valve cap, and place the tire pressure gauge on it firmly. Make sure you don’t hear any air leaking. A digital or dial gauge should give you a reading on the screen or dial; stick-type gauges have a stick that pops out the bottom—the highest pressure shown is your current tire pressure. Remove the tire gauge and measure again.

If the pressure is low, add air by placing the end of an air pump hose over the tire valve. If you’re using a high-pressure air hose at a gas station, only fill the tire for five seconds, then stop. Lower-pressure personal air pumps can stay on for longer, especially if the tire is very low. Never leave the pump alone as it could overinflate the tire and damage it.

Recheck the pressure. If the tire is overinflated, you can release air by pressing the valve inside the tire valve stem. An ink pen works great for this. Once you have confirmed your tire is inflated to the proper level, replace the valve cap.

Repeat these steps for each tire, and don't forget to check your spare too! Everything you need to know will be printed on a sticker on the spare tire's rim or in your owner's manual.

How Do I Know When I Need New Tires?

While you're kneeling down checking the tire pressure, it's a good idea to take a close look for visible signs of wear and tear. In general, tires last about 6 years, but may need to be replaced if you notice any of the following:
  • The tread has worn down to less than 3/32".  This is about the distance from the top of a penny to the top of Honest Abe's head. If any part of his head is covered, you should be ok for a while longer.
  • Any bulges, blisters, or bubbles
  • Cracking in the tread grooves
  • Punctures, cuts, peeling, snags, or separation in tire tread or sidewall
  • Sudden loss of tire pressure
  • Poor handling or traction on slippery surfaces
  • Pulling to one side while driving
  • Sudden vibration while driving
  • Tires that have been driven while flat
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Get Complete Tire Care at Borgman Ford Service Center in Grand Rapids, MI

Keeping your tires inflated is essential for good fuel economy, responsive handling, safety, and getting the most miles out of them. However, there are other things that need to be done as well, such as rotations, balancing, and alignments. Making sure these are done as needed ensures not only tire health, but the longevity of other parts such as your brakes, suspension, and steering.

If you need new tires, or just want to have them checked out by a certified and trusted technician, give us a call at 616-534-7651, or schedule an appointment online. Be sure to visit our Service Specials page for the latest coupons and offers. Drive safe, West Michigan!
Categories: Service
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