Tire buying guide

Tips for Protecting your tire investment

Tips for Protecting your tire investment

New tires aren’t just a purchase, they’re an investment. So make sure you’re caring for them properly and getting all the miles that you paid for. Take a look at our tire buying guide and learn how to lengthen your tires' lives.

New tires are an investment. Get every mile that you paid for with these simple tips that can really help them go the distance.

Investment Masthead2

How often should I inspect my tires?How often should I inspect my tires?

A good rule of thumb is to inspect your tires once a month. When you bring out the gauge to check your tire pressures, it’s a good time to give the actual tires a checkup too.

What should I be looking for when I inspect my tires?What should I be looking for when I inspect my tires?

The primary things to check are the tread depth, and the general condition of the tread and sidewall. You should also look for foreign objects in the tread, as well as any rips, tears or cuts in the sidewall. It’s best to catch these early before they result in a more serious issue down the road.

What are some signs of tire problems?What are some signs of tire problems?

Tires that are worn to the 2/32” level should be replaced. 

If you see that there is a raised portion of the sidewall or tread, this could be due to one of the belts inside the tire being separated from those next to it. If this is the case, have a Belle Tire specialist take a closer look. 

You may also notice some signs of a problem while driving. If you feel that the vehicle is pulling to one side, this could mean there’s an underinflated or damaged tire. If there’s an unusual vibration or thumping noise, this could be the sign of a tread with a flat spot, a separated belt or a tire that’s out of balance.

Measure your tread depth regularlyMeasuring your tread depth

It's a good idea to check your tire's tread at least once a month for signs of uneven wear. Here are some helpful tips for measuring your tread.

Tread depth guage

Using a tread depth gauge

You can find an inexpensive tread depth gauge at any auto parts store or online. Most tire gauges have a probe that extends out of the end of the gauge to measure the tread depth of your tire’s grooves. First, locate the lowest, most worn area around the tire’s tread, and place the probe end of your tread gauge into the groove. Push down. This will cause the tire gauge to extend outward, revealing the tread depth measurement. Because tires can wear unevenly, Belle Tire recommends that you check your tread depth in multiple spots.

The penny test

First, take a penny and place it with Lincoln’s head upside down between two ribs on your tire. If part of the head is covered, your tires are still in good shape. If you can see his entire head, your tread is worn to 2⁄32 inch or less and it’s time for new tires. It's also important not to check just one spot. Make sure to measure several points on the tire, checking for uneven wear.

Penny test graphic Final
Wear indicators

What are tread wear bars?

Tread wear indicator bars are small, raised bars found within the grooves of your tires. They are placed around the tire at different points to measure how evenly your tread is being worn down. The purpose of the wear bars is to offer an easy, visual indication of how much tread is left on your tires. Once your tread becomes flush with the wear bar, it's time for a new set.

Maintaining your tire pressure is more important than you think.Maintaining your tire pressure is more important than you think.

One of the most overlooked elements of safety, performance and longevity is simply the amount of air in your tires. In a technical sense, it’s what’s actually supporting the entire weight of your vehicle and everything in it.

Checking tire pressure

Why should I check my tire pressure?

Tire pressures are by no means constant. They can be affected by nothing more than a change in outdoor temperatures. Pressures can fluctuate 1 psi(pounds per square Inch) for every 10 degrees Fahrenheit. A temperature increase drives a psi increase and a decrease in temperature results in a decrease in psi. Noticing a decrease in the pressure of one of your tires can also be a sign of a foreign object in the tread that’s causing a slow leak. But you won't know unless you check. So as a rule, just set aside five minutes at the beginning of each month to check the tire pressures and make sure they are inflated to match the vehicle and tire manufacturer’s specifications.

Where do I find my tire pressure?

To make sure you’re running the right tire pressures, you first need to know what they are. Vehicle manufacturers are kind enough to put this info in both the owner’s manual and on the driver’s side door jamb. Keep in mind, front and rear pressure recommendations could be slightly different. Once you know the right pressures, you can check to see if your tires are under, over or just right.

Door Sticker
Air pressure

Benefits of proper tire inflation.

The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that every day, five million gallons of fuel are wasted due to low tire pressures. That’s a lot of fuel and it costs you even more money. Having your tires properly inflated is the fastest, simplest and cheapest way to make sure your vehicle is getting better gas mileage. When you have to fill up less often, your fuel cost savings can add up quickly. If that isn't enough, there’s also the added safety. An underinflated or overinflated tire is more likely to result in tire failure, which could result in an accident. Running tires with improper pressures also affects the wear, which means you could take as much as a year off the life of a set of tires.

How to check your tire pressure

It's always recommended to check your tire pressure when your tires are "cold". Tires are considered cold when the vehicle has been parked for at least three hours, or driven less than one mile at moderate speed. First, remove the valve cap from one of your tires. Then place the pressure gauge on the valve stem and press down firmly. The air pressure will push a small bar out from the bottom of the gauge. Measurement units are etched into the bar. Now, compare the measured psi to the psi found on the sticker inside the driver’s door or in your owner’s manual. DO NOT compare to the psi on your tire’s sidewall. Finally, if your psi is above the number, let air out until it matches. If below, add air until it reaches the proper number.

Tire pressure gauge closeup
TPMS BACK

What is TPMS?

Tire Pressure Monitoring System

Simply put, the TPMS is there to alert you that the pressure in one or more of your tires is a certain amount below or above the recommended psi. But remember, the warning light can’t tell you which tire is underinflated. So if you see the TPMS icon illuminated, check the pressure in all four tires as soon as possible.

Services that make your tires last longerServices that make your tires last longer

There are 3 important services that can help you get every mile out of your tires. That means less trips to the tire store and more money in your wallet. Lets break them down to understand why they matter.

Alignment bay

What is a wheel alignment?

Sometimes called a front-end alignment, this adjustment is made to make sure your vehicle tracks straight and true whenever it’s in motion. Proper alignment is a delicate balancing act encompassing power, acceleration, steering, braking and suspension. It involves adjusting the camber (outward or inward tilt of the tires), caster (front or rear tilt), and toe (direction of the tires when viewed from above). It helps ensure that when the wheels are quickly rotating, there’s no unwanted drift from side-to-side or up-and-down vibrations.

What is a tire rotation?

Periodically changing the positions of each tire on your vehicle is better known as a “tire rotation”. Your vehicle and tire manufacturers will have recommendations for how often and in what direction to move the tires.

Tire rotation1
Spin Balanicing

What is tire balancing?

This procedure properly adjusts the tire weight distribution around the vehicle. Balancing is an important service that’s recommended to help you get better vehicle performance and more miles out of your tires.

Your one-stop-explanation-shop!

We know buying tires and servicing your vehicle can be overwhelming and darn right confusing. That's why we've assembled all the information to help simplify tire selection, vehicle maintenance and repair.

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Your covered with us!

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Don’t keep your new tires waiting.

Don’t keep your new tires waiting.

We’ll help you find the perfect tires in a few steps.

We’ll help you find the perfect tires in a few steps.

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