A quick guide to important tire facts

There’s a lot you can learn when it comes to the wide and wonderful world of tires. From maintenance and service to driving conditions and style, the information might seem overwhelming. Don’t worry; you don’t have to learn it all at once. Breaking it down into digestible bits of information is the best way to go. This article will give you a good start, providing some essential tire information you should know.

Fact #1: All-season tires are not winter tires

If you live in year-round moderate weather, all-season tires will probably do just fine. However, if you live in an area with severe winters, you should consider switching your all-season tires with winter tires. For more information on driving in snow, check out our Winter Tires article. Or take a look at our All-Season vs. All-Weather Tires article to broaden your tire type knowledge.

Fact #2: Tire pressure plays a huge role in tire performance

While it’s tough to pick one tire fact as the most important, tire inflation pressure is near the top of the list. Here are a few things to know about tire inflation pressure:

  • The correct tire pressure for your tire is not found on the sidewall. It’s stated in your owner’s manual and the placard on driver’s side door jamb.
  • It’s impossible to know how much pressure is in your tire by looking at it or by pressing on the side. You need a proper pressure gauge.
  • Proper tire pressure can save you money at the pump. Checking your pressure is worth it — literally.
  • Outside temperature can affect your tire pressure. On average, experts say that pressure decreases about one to two pound per square inch (psi) for every 10° F drop in temperature.

This is a good start, but check out our Tire Pressure article if you want to know more.

Fact #3: Tires should be checked at least once a month

Conducting regular maintenance and safety checks on your tires is so simple you can do it yourself. Take a look at the following 10-minute Safety Checklist.

How to Check the Pressure:

  • Check your tire inflation pressure at least once a month when your tires are cool. Remember to also check your spare tire. (wait 3 hours after driving)
  • Check manufacturer’s recommended air pressure located in the placard on the driver's side door jamb, or owner's manual.
  • Remove the valve cap and press firmly on the valve stem with a tire pressure gauge.
  • Add air and check again if the reading is lower than the recommended level.
  • Push on the metal valve core in the center of the valve with the nub on the back of the tire pressure gauge to release air if your tires are overinflated.
  • Replace valve cap when recommended pressure is achieved.

How to Check the Tread:

  • Insert the edge of a penny into the most worn groove of your tire tread with Lincoln’s head down and facing you.
  • If the top of Honest Abe’s head is covered by tread, meaning you cannot see the top of his head, the tire tread is acceptable.
  • If the top of his head is visible, you need to replace the tire.

How to Check the Overall Condition:

  • Visually inspect for cuts, cracks, splits, punctures, irregular wear and bulges.
  • If you see any of the above or doubt the condition of your tires, visit a local tire service professional immediately.

Those steps will help you check the integrity of your tires. Just remember to do so at least once a month and before any long trips. If you want more information, check out our Tire Maintenance and Repair article.

Fact #4: Worn out tires are dangerous

All tires have “wear bars” in the grooves of their tread. These show up when only 2/32nds of an inch (1.6 mm) of the tread is remaining. At this stage, you must replace your tires immediately. For more information, check out our Tire Life article.

Some Cooper tires also come with Wear Square® technology. The Wear Squares® allow you to quickly see the approximate tread life remaining on your tires.

Fact #5: Never purchase or install used tires on your vehicle

We recommend that you never put used tires on your vehicle. There are too many things that can go wrong with used tires, and you won’t be able to spot them all. For now, trust us that you shouldn’t do it. If you want more information, check out our Used Tires article.

We’ll stop here for now because you’re off to the races. Remember, this is only the start of your tire education journey, and Cooper Tires can help you every step along the way.