Is Your Vehicle Stuck In A Rut? Or Ready For The Rut?
Deer Season: So, here you are. Gear is packed, the rut is on, and your heart is in your throat in anticipation of that MONSTER BUCK you have had on your trail cam for weeks. All systems are a go. You get on the road, all is going along just perfect. You got up early, had your coffee and donut and the adrenaline continues to flow. That all changes in the blink of an eye.
The road to you use to get to your stand is wet and sloppy. Nothing new. Welcome to the fall in Wisconsin. You have traveled this path for years and this is just part of the experience. Until it isn’t. One, two, three, and you are up to your axle in mud. How did that happen?
Let’s start out by talking tires. Did you know that 3/32 is the legal limit for tire tread depth? Most tires lose a critical component at 5/32″ tread, it’s called the sipes, sipes are little cuts you see on the tread and are the main traction component on a tire. When the sipes are gone, breaking ability is critically reduced. For example, it’s a rainy day, you are traveling at 70 mph with new tires or tires with 10/32″ or greater, it will take 195.2 feet to stop an average vehicle. Now, that same vehicle, with tires at 5/32″ or less, it will take 390 feet to stop on the same pavement conditions. Your vehicle depends on its tires to stop, steer and stay on the road. Worn tires can turn a close call into a collision or even getting you stuck in the mud, up to your axle. This all could have been avoided with a little preventive maintenance. Protect yourself and your vehicle, have your tires inspected today!
Why do tire inspections matter? Other than slipping off the road in the mud, you need good tires to stay in one piece. Safety reasons. 11,000 tire related crashes yearly are due to faulty tires. Tire inflation: Check the driver’s door, door jam or fuel door of your vehicle for the correct tire inflation. Under inflation causes stress on the tire, irregular wear, loss of control with the end result an accident. A handy tip for when to check your tire inflation is when the tire is cold (ie. Deer Season). For every 18° degrees “F” ambient temperature, a vehicles tire pressure changes about 1.5 PSI. The average vehicle will lose about 1 PSI of air pressure per month on average. Less air pressure loss during the summer months vs. more PSI lost in the winter months due to more temperature variations.
Staying out of the ditch or up against somebody else’s bumper are two things. Another, is money; your money. Tires that are under inflated by 5-6 PSI will cause a reduction in fuel economy by up to 4%. Under inflated tires not only cost you fuel economy, but also reduce the life of the tire. With low PSI, excessive build up of heat will occur in a tire. Most people think that deflating a tire will increase traction and give a better ride, not true. It actually reduces traction and increases tire wear which causes tire failure.
Tire conditions: Poor tire conditions, or very little tread depth, can cause tire blow outs. Cracks, cuts, splits, punctures in the tread and/or on the sidewall will cause issues also.
Tire tread should be a minimum of 3/32″ inches deep. A good way to measure tire tread is by sticking a penny, edge first into the center gap of the tread with Lincoln’s head pointed towards the tire. If Lincoln’s head is visible, your tires NEED replacement.
Tire rotations: As a general rule, tires should be rotated every 6,000 to 8,000 miles to keep the tread on all 4 tires evenly worn. If you notice an extreme difference in wearing on a tire vs. the other tires, you may have an alignment issue or other issues that cause tire wear problems.
Keep Tires Balanced: An unbalanced tire will wear faster and uneven wear will occur. If you start to have a tire go out of balance or experience a vehicle shake, first check to see if there is any mud, snow or dirt build up in the wheel area- clean that out first. If there is still a problem, take your vehicle in and have the tires balanced.
Did you know? The natural color of rubber is white, not black. Why rubber is made black isn’t just for cosmetic reasons, but adding carbon black to the rubber drastically increases various desirable qualities of the rubber for tires. By adding about 50% weight of carbon black increases the road wear abrasion of the produced tire by as much as 100 fold and improves the strength of a tire by as much as 100%. Carbon black also helps to conduct heat away from hot spots on the tire as in the tread and belt area where hot spots occur while driving.
In general, the best way to extend the life of your tires is similar to how to extend the longevity of your engine and other components of your vehicle. Hard driving, rapid acceleration, heavy and hard breaking and sharp cornering are several ways to wear down your tires, particularly if you are spinning or skidding. Be good to your tires and they will be good to you.
So, now that you have the intel on your truck, SUV or other vehicle’s tires, be sure to stay on top of their maintenance so that you can spend more time in the woods and less time cursing at your misfortune.