So, May is “Tire Safety Month.” It may sound like an artificial holiday, mostly because it totally is, but at least you’re not guilted into buying flowers and chocolates and greeting cards that’ll either go straight into the trash or held onto out of obligation.
Instead, you’re subtly reminded that you need to ask Abe Lincoln’s copper head if your tires are too worn down, then maybe go buy a new set of rubbers for your ride so you can make sure that summer road trip goes smooth as butta.
To get us in the mood (or whatever) for Tire Safety Month, Discount Tire asked us to visit one of their stores to get a free air pressure check, tire inspection, and tire rotation, which you can also do by heading over to their site and scheduling an appointment. Easy as pie…
Since I’m out of the country at the moment, I had my buddy Mike schedule an appointment on Discount Tire’s website.
Since he just bought brand new tires for his WRX (at Discount Tire, funny enough,) he brought in his sister’s 2014 Kia Soul. I asked him to take a few pictures and give me an honest opinion on the entire experience:
My sister purchased a Kia Soul late last year and was able to get a great deal by comparison shopping for the base model at the end of the quarter, when salespeople are most motivated to move inventory.
She absolutely loves the vehicle; she drives it everywhere and has put 16K miles on it in just over six months. Having just days ago replaced my tires courtesy of an impact break, the subject of tire rotations and general maintenance came up today.
Although she has had the requisite oil changes performed since purchasing the vehicle, she hadn’t checked the air pressure in her tires or even had them rotated while getting oil changes. Obviously with the mileage she had put on the tires, it was time to give them some attention.
As of such, I hopped online and browsed to Discount Tire’s homepage. The site sports an online appointment scheduler that instantly shows the available appointment times at the location of your choice, and I was able to secure a tire inspection and rotation appointment for early evening on the same day.
We arrived at the storefront a little early, parked and exited the Soul. Before we had taken five steps we were greeted in the parking lot by an almost absurdly friendly employee named Juan. After greeting us, he asked how he could help and we explained our situation. He quickly took tire tread measurements on all four tires, then led us inside to explain his findings.
He showed the tread depths he had measured by referencing a poster, and indicated that although her rear tires were still like new, the front tires on my sister’s car were nearly half worn. He explained that this phenomenon was unsurprisingly caused by the lack of regular tire rotations.
Juan then walked us over to his checkout kiosk where he advised that we have the tires balanced as well. The cost of the balancing was nominal, and includes any future balancing necessary for the tires in question. After signing the work order and paying for the service, we grabbed a couple of free bottles of water from their lobby dispenser and took a seat.
My sister and I just chatted and observed the other folks and vehicles in the lobby, but I did observe that there was a counter on the garage side of the lobby with bar stools and power outlets. Indeed, there was an older gentleman making use of this space with a laptop and portable printer.
While we sat chatting, another friendly employee came up and introduced himself as Joe. Joe was the manager of the location, and answered a lot of questions my sister had about potentially upgrading the wheels on her vehicle. He didn’t try to sell us on new tires or anything else, instead it felt more like talking to a knowledgeable friend than a store employee.
After about 30 minutes, our Kia was rolling out of the garage bay. We stepped outside just as yet another absurdly friendly employee – Ryan – hopped out of the car and brought us the keys. He asked if there was anything else he could do, if we had any additional questions, and just generally embodied all of the aspects of good customer service.
I’ve been a long time customer of Discount Tire, and the biggest reason is the customer service. These guys and gals are phenomenal, and I think they certainly made another returning customer out of my sister.
Some Tire Tips
Only Replacing Two Tires?
Yes, usually it’s either the front or back that wear out the fastest, especially if you’re a lead foot like us. Given the fact that tires can be pretty expensive, many people choose to only replace two at a time.
It’s not the best way to go, but if you’re going to do it I recommend getting as close as possible to the other two tires in terms of specs, hardness, tread, etc.
Discount Tire also suggests making sure the rear tires are the newer ones, since if you’re taking a turn with newer front tires, the rear end could slide out from behind you like it is for this poor fella to the right.
Of course, understeering in a slide isn’t the best either, but you will have more control this way, especially if you’re driving a car or truck with RWD or AWD.
Don’t Forget About Air Pressure!
That’s one thing I think we universally forget about the most – checking your tires’ air pressure regularly. It’s massively important to make sure your tires are kept within a certain range of pressure, so make sure you’re either checking them regularly or my suggestion, pick up some of those tire stem caps that goes red if you’re under-inflated. Discount Tire will check your pressure for you for free no matter where you got your tires.
Of course if you have a car built in the last 10 years or so, you’ll have TPMS already installed in your car, and even though some of them alert you so often most people just ignore it, it’s good to have. Discount Tire has much more info here on tire pressure, or you can take a look at this cute little guide below:
My Tread is Fine, Should I Replace Them Anyway?
So you did the penny test (to the right) and the tread is past Abe’s head, good for you. That doesn’t mean your tires are in good shape.
After a while, tires do wear out. The chemicals in the rubber start to lose their effectiveness and the rubber can get brittle and fall apart.
So how often should you change them? Although vehicle manufacturers say every 6 years, industry experts recommend every 10.
Of course, I’m sure your ultra high performance summer tires aren’t going to wear at the same rate as your chained-up winter rubber. So, if your tread is still good, consider replacing them anyway after 6-10 years, or maybe when the warranty runs out.
So, What Tires Should I Get?
That’s a big question. You could just tell the person at the counter what you want and hope for the best. Personally, I like to know exactly what I’m getting and tweak it to my needs.
If you’re like me then, you should have a basic understanding of what all those letters and numbers mean on the side of the tire. We have a guide to all that tire info here so you can brush up on it.
This article is just meant to get you thinking about the last time you paid attention to your tires, and maybe reminding you to have them looked at. Yes, this is a sponsored article, but in all honesty I use Discount Tire more often than anywhere else anyway, and Mike’s experience above shows it doesn’t take much.
This article is also meant to give you a few tips about tires in general and remind you that those winter tires you might be rolling around on right now aren’t the best choice for summer driving.
Do you change your tires seasonally? When the last time you checked your tire pressure? Have you used Discount Tire before and like (or don’t like) them? Let us know what you think in the comments below.