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Tire Guide

Check tires for wear at four years

Published May 5, 2013

Q. You have suggested that four-year-old tires could be a problem. I have Goodyear TripleTreds I purchased in 2008. They have good tread depth left. Should I consider replacing them? What is the difference between my tire and the Goodyear Fortera TripleTred?

A.You do not need to automatically replace your tires. After four years, it is time to start checking them regularly for cracks, a sign of hardening rubber.

These cracks can be in obvious places, such as spider-web patterns on the sidewalls, or they can appear inside the tread grooves.

With a strong light, look into the grooves at the base of the tread blocks and check if there are any separation lines starting to appear. If there are just small cracks, monitor the tires more closely. If the lines start to grow more rapidly, it is time for a tire change.

Once the tires reach seven years from date of manufacture, I would change them, regardless of tread depth.

Before that time limit, if you feel wet grip is less than you are used to, make a change. Tires lose grip with time, but the grip loss is so incremental, we tend to compensate over time. That’s why new tires always are such an eye-opener.

The Fortera name indicates the tire is meant for SUV or light truck applications. You have the correct tire for your car. The TripleTred is a great tire.

Q. I bought a new set of Toyo Proxes T1 Sport (P255/35R19–96Y). I just want to use two of the new ones for now. Should I put the new tires on the front and move the used tires (7/32 tread depth) to the back? Then, next year, depending on how the backs wear, I would maybe put the other new ones to use.

A.The industry standard for mounting just two new tires is: best tires on the back. That means new tires always go on the rear, regardless of whether the vehicle is FWD, RWD or AWD.

It is a safety issue, and the logic is simple to follow:

A car, when it loses traction, can skid either at the front (understeer) or the real (oversteer). The average driver in an emergency can control understeer, but not oversteer. Oversteer will spin the car. So the best tires go on the end of the car that needs the most help staying on the pavement.

Under braking, the weight of the car shifts towards the front. Less weight on the rear means less grip. That’s why the tires with the most grip are needed there.

The front tires, which may be older and have less grip, get extra weight pushed on them and that increases grip. To help the car stay balanced overall, best tires on the back.

Q. I have a 2008 Honda CRV and average about 10,000 km per year. I’m a 78-year-old female and do mostly highway driving, around 100 km each trip, and very few in-town trips. I don’t use gravel roads.

A.The top two tires for your CRV are the Firestone Destination LE2 and the new Michelin Defender. A close third is the Firestone Precision Touring.

Of these, the Michelin will have the longest tread life. It is also the most expensive. The Precision Touring is the least expensive, but is not far behind in performance.

All are designed as pavement tires, so they fit with your mostly highway driving. They are classed as Touring tires, so they are engineered for ride comfort.

Send your tire questions to: thetireguy_1@hotmail.com. Mail volume prevents personal replies.

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