GRAND VALLEY – Dealing with tire change overs is not something most people look forward to. It can be costly, confusing and downright exhausting. Having a good understanding of what’s needed, and when, is a step in the right direction.
Kevin Butler, owner and service advisor at Silverdale Motors in Grand Valley, shared a few tips with the Community News on tire care from point of purchase to installation. Butler has worked with cars his entire life and took over his family business seven years ago.
“I would say to just do your homework,” Butler said.
“It’s okay to ask questions. You really want to make sure your tires are checked for uneven wear, and that you’re staying on top of maintenance for your vehicle.
“Whether it’s an alignment issue that might need to be resolved, or whether it’s suspension issues … you don’t want to prematurely wear out your tires,” Butler said.
He highly recommends having a re-torque done after having a vehicle’s tires off, whether for a changeover or tire service.
“I guess a sweet spot would be anywhere [after tire service] between 50 to 150 kilometers,” Butler said. “You’re better safe than sorry to recheck them. It’s a five minute stop and there’s no charge for it.”
Knowing when to have your tires replaced is important. While they can be expensive, it is far more costly to ignore potential problems that can lead to extensive damage to the vehicle. Worse still, driving on tires that are not up to par can lead to accidents on the road.
“Where we are, we get a lot of people that drive on back roads and those tires tend to wear out a little quicker because gravel kind of chews away at the rubber,” Butler explained.
Driving habits are a major factor in terms of tire longevity and having a separate set of winter tires is a sound practice.
“I think it’s crucial to driving, especially with our weather being so erratic now. You get sleet, snow, ice and all-seasons just don’t have the gripping power that snow tires do in that kind of weather,” Butler said.
Finding the right set of tires at the right price can be a daunting undertaking, and careful considerations should be made when making a purchase. A cheap set of tires will last a single season, but investing in quality tires will create peace of mind and will keep vehicles safely on the road longer.
More and more consumers today are turning to the internet to find the best deals on tires, but there are a lot of options. If you manage to find tires that work, can you take them to a local shop to have them put on?
“Every shop is different,” Butler said. “For me, I don’t mind it, but I do want customers to know beforehand what they’re getting into. Tires are really tricky because there’s a million different brands out there.
“So when [customers] order them online, they really want to know what their needs are and what that tire will do.”
While some shops will install tires purchased elsewhere, most limit it to tires and will not install other parts provided by the customer. This largely comes down to profitability and liability. Incorrect parts result in time loss and are not covered by a warranty.
Used tires, of course, should always be recycled. With their hollow, rounded shape, they take up a lot of valuable space in landfills and take decades to break down.
Butler recommends bringing used tires to a licensed shop to have them disposed of properly.
“We dispose of [tires]. If somebody had a set at home they wanted to get rid of, they could drop them by the shop during business hours and we would definitely take care of those.”
As far as spring changeovers go, most shops will typically start booking in mid- to late-March. Whether or not insurance companies offer discounts on summer tires can affect when to buy new tires.
“To anybody booking, please be patient. Every shop is going through a bottleneck of customers trying to come in during a one to two month period to get their tires changed,” Butler said.
“Plus there are other people that are not regular customers, so it’s a hectic time.”
Whether commuting daily or just taking the occasional Sunday drive, maintainance and knowledge are key to safe, hassle-free driving.