View Post

Uneven tire wear and what it could mean

In Tires & Wheels by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

Sometime in the past or perhaps recently, you may have needed to replace your car tires.

Maybe you had an unrepairable tire due to a puncture, or the tire tread was low.

You might have also been told that the tires were wearing unevenly. These wearing patterns – depending on the location – can indicate certain problems.

Uneven tire wear problems include:

  • Choppy wear throughout tire
  • Too much tire wearing on the inside or outside
  • Middle of tire becoming worn
  • Wear on the inner and outer edges

Uneven tire wear problems and causes

Wave wear pattern across tire: If you see you have chopping through the tread, it could be a sign of alignment wear. It might also mean that a shock or strut isn’t doing its job, causing an irregular wear pattern. Horizontally, it may look OK, but vertically a little wave can be seen when you look at it from the side. 

To avoid this problem, make sure you stay up-to-date on tire services, such as wheel alignments, and that suspension parts are replaced when they break or become worn.

Jeep Cherokee tire worn on edges.

Excessive inner or outer tire wear: Too much wear on one side of the tire can be a symptom of a bad car alignment. If you notice the inside or outside is wearing more quickly than the rest of the tire, that can be a toe alignment problem or an excessive camber issue.

Preventing premature tire wear is one of the benefits of regular tire alignments. We recommend them once a year or every 15,000 miles, when suspension parts are replaced, and after new tires are installed.

Tire worn in the middle: A tire wearing more in the center than other parts of the tire might indicate that it’s overinflated. 

Details about the correct tire pressure are provided on the tire sidewall or the driver’s side door jam. Depending on the vehicle, tire pressure can be anywhere from 32 to 36 pounds per square inch (PSI).

Wearing on the tire’s outer edges: Both the inside and outside of the tire experiencing premature wear may be the result of low tire pressure. 

You should regularly check the air in your tires. You might have a flat tire if one tire is lower than the rest. All four tires having less air than they should can be caused by drastic decreases in outside temperatures during colder months.

Why even tread wear is important

Tires play a significant role in the safety of drivers and passengers. Having good tire patch contact with the road gives you the best ability to maintain control, stop and go.

Blown out tire.

If you’re not paying attention to the tread at all and you’re having a lot of inside tire wear, then you could get down to the chords or steel belts of the tire. This could lead to a tire blowing out and you losing control of the vehicle. 

In extreme driving situations, a wavy pattern could have indicated that shock and strut replacement was needed for you to maintain control of the car.

When you go in for oil changes or any other type of car maintenance, make sure your auto repair shop checks the tread and informs you of any abnormal tire wear.

HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire is an authorized Michelin and BFGoodrich tire dealer located near Lake Ridge, Virginia. Automotive repair services are performed on all makes and models, including oil changes, brakes, alignments, inspections, and computer engine diagnostics.

View Post

Why you should go to a place with tire professionals

In Tires & Wheels by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

Today, numerous products can be ordered online, including car parts.

Some consumers have found that they can save money by purchasing tires this way. However, the cheaper option might not be the best in the long run.

When considering tires, it’s important to choose a high quality tire that’s the right fit for your vehicle. We recommend choosing the best option you can afford.

What many drivers don’t realize is that how the tires are purchased and installed can be as important as the tires themselves.

Knowledgeable tire professionals

We had a customer who bought tires online. After they were installed, the driver realized that they weren’t happy with their purchase.

It’s good to look at reviews online, but sometimes being able to talk to someone with experience can be very helpful.

BMW 7-Series tire replacement.

Certain tire producers will allow you to swap out tires up to a specified mileage. But you may be able to avoid this hassle by having your vehicle serviced by tire professionals.

They can provide you with a good recommendation based on the type of vehicle, where it’s driven, and what it’s used for.

They also may know about any available rebates offered by manufacturers.

When you go to a reputable auto repair shop, you gain the insight of those who work with tires everyday.

Delays and additional costs

Another drawback for ordering your tires online is if there are any defects or problems, you may be without your vehicle while you’re sending tires back and waiting for new ones.

The shop that’s replacing the tire won’t be able to have your car sit on the rack for a day or a week – however long it takes to get the tires in. You will be responsible for that extra cost.

It’s also important to keep in mind that other fees could come with replacing tires.

A tire installation shop may allow you to send tires there, but an additional surcharge may be applied. This doesn’t include the cost of mounting and balancing the tires.

An additional surcharge could also come with having a shop install tires that you ordered elsewhere. 

There are times where purchasing tires online is necessary. You might be in need of a speciality tire or a tire that’s hard to get. Maybe there’s only one kind of tire for a specific vehicle during a year or two.

In this case, we don’t mind if you order tires – we may even recommend it. Some of those places do have their value.

Road hazard warranty

Road hazard is another possible benefit of going to a place with tire professionals. We offer a nationwide road hazard warranty for tires that are purchased from us.

It can be helpful if the tire gets punctured.

Unrepairable tire on Dodge Durango.
Unrepairable tire on Dodge Durango

On the program we use, if a tire is within the initial 25 percent of the tread wear and isn’t repairable the insurance company covers as much as 100 percent of the cost of a new tire.

The road hazard becomes prorated once the tread wear is beyond the first 25 percent.

This plan lasts three years or until a spot on the tire is 2/32 of an inch or lower.

So, when purchasing tires online keep this in mind – sometimes, trying to save a few bucks isn’t worth it.

HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire is an authorized Michelin and BFGoodrich tire dealer located near Dumfries, Virginia. Automotive repair services are performed on all makes and models, including oil changes, brakes, alignments, inspections, and computer engine diagnostics.

View Post

New Michelin tires that are dependable in winter

In Tires & Wheels by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

Winter can bring freezing rain, snow and ice.

Your vehicle needs a set of tires that are able to handle any inclement weather that you come across.

New Michelin tires have become available during the past few years. They include:

  • Michelin Defender 2 Tire
  • Michelin Pilot Sport All Season 4 Tire
  • BFGoodrich Trail-Terrain T/A Tire
  • Uniroyal Power Paw A/S Tire

These options are designed for different vehicles and the traits they offer vary. But they are all tires you can rely on year-round, including wintertime.

We go into more detail about each tire below.

New Michelin tires

Michelin Defender 2 Tire

Michelin Defender 2 Tire.
Michelin Defender 2 Tire

A long-lasting tire is available for passenger cars and crossovers: the Michelin Defender 2 Tire.

This is an upgraded version of the Michelin Defender Tire, which has grown in popularity.

Backed by an 80,000 mile warranty, the Michelin Defender 2 Tire can provide average drivers with several years of worry-free travels.

The all-season tire’s long lifespan isn’t the only perk. It also has a stopping distance that bypasses those on other tires. 

Plus, it provides a comfortable and quiet ride for users, due to its even wear capabilities.

Michelin Pilot Sport All Season 4 Tire

When it comes with winter weather, the Michelin Pilot Sport All Season 4 Tire has your back. 

An all season tire, it provides sports cars with traction in dry, wet and snowy conditions. 

Full-depth sipes that interlock offer biting edges, so maintaining grip while it’s raining or snowing isn’t a problem.

Helio+ technology, which provides advanced rubber, kicks in during freezing weather. Meanwhile, Extreme Silica+ tread compound comes in handy when the roads are slippery.

The Michelin Pilot Sport All Season 4 Tire also lasts. This can be attributed to Dynamic Response Technology.

BFGoodrich Trail-Terrain T/A Tire

BFGoodrich Trail-Terrain T/A Tire.
BFGoodrich Trail-Terrain T/A Tire

The BFGoodrich Trail-Terrain T/A Tire is made for larger vehicles – SUVs, CUVs and light trucks.

Rated for severe snow, it comes with better snow traction than other tires. Full-depth 3D sipes enhance the traction and power.

This all season tire was designed with adventure in mind. Thanks to a serrated shoulder, it’s able to journey across soft soil. With its chipping and tearing resistance, driving on gravel roads is also possible.

Offering a 60,000 mile warranty, the BFGoodrich Trail-Terrain T/A Tire is there to be your travel companion for many activities.

And, because of the optimized footprint design, it will provide you a comfortable and quiet ride along the way. 

Uniroyal Power Paw A/S Tire

Uniroyal Power Paw Tire.
Uniroyal Power Paw Tire

For everyday drivers, the Uniroyal Power Paw A/S Tire may be the right choice. 

The ultra high-performance tire is designed for SUVs and CUVs.

It offers a long lifespan, thanks to Tru-Last Technology. This feature also helps control stress on the tire, enabling the tread to wear evenly.

Great for every season, the Uniroyal Tiger Paw comes with a 45,000 mile warranty.

The tires highlighted in this article are just a few produced by Michelin Tire, BFGoodrich Tire and Uniroyal Tire. 

If you’d like to learn more information about these tires or others available, reach out to a tire shop you can trust. One of our team members would be happy to answer any questions you have.

HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire is an authorized Michelin and BFGoodrich tire dealer located near Lake Ridge, Virginia. Automotive repair services are performed on all makes and models, including oil changes, brakes, alignments, inspections, and computer engine diagnostics.

View Post

Tire pressure and why it matters

In Tires & Wheels by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

Are any of your car’s tires looking lower than normal? You may have a flat tire, or it could have something to do with the outside temperature.

As winter approaches, it’s important to keep an eye on your vehicle’s tire pressure. 

This is especially true if you are planning to travel long distances for the holiday season or winter vacations.

Tire pressure is one of the items our automotive technicians check when performing a digital vehicle inspection.

Why does tire pressure decrease?

When outside temperatures decrease, the pounds per square inch (PSI) does too. So, all four tires appearing a bit deflated is probably related to the drastic weather change.

If one tire seems lower than the rest, you may have a tire puncture. When performing tire repairs, we follow guidelines from the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association. 

Keep in mind that not all tire injuries are repairable. Depending on the location and angle, the tire might need to be replaced. We can’t patch punctures on the sidewall or inner or outer shoulder. 

Continuing to drive on a flat tire can lead to more tire damage.

Signs of low tire pressure

One way you can tell if you have low tire pressure is if the sidewalls are wider at the bottom. 

Handling problems is another indicator. For example, if the pressure is really low, the sidewall could roll more as a vehicle is turning. The braking may be impacted, as well.

You might also notice more tire wear if there isn’t enough air.

A lot of cars today have a tire-pressure monitoring system (TPMS). You should check your tires if the TPMS light (which is the symbol with an exclamation mark) turns on.

Bad TPMS sensor shown on scanner.
Bad TPMS sensor

Low tire pressure and flat tires can trigger this warning light. It can also appear if a TPMS sensor has a bad circuit board or battery.

If any of your car’s tires appear low or if they look OK and the TPMS light is on, have an automotive expert or autoshop look into the issue. 

The correct amount of air in tires

You may be wondering why the amount of air in a tire matters. Well, it can play a role in the tire’s lifespan.

Tire pressure guidelines for Pilot Sport All-Season 4 Tire.
Tire pressure guidelines on tire sidewall

There shouldn’t be too much or not enough air in a tire. Too little air can cause the outer edges to experience premature wear. Excessive air can eventually result in damage to the tire’s center.

The right amount of pressure varies among vehicles. This information can be found on the tire sidewall or the door jam on the driver’s side. In general, it can range from 32 to 36 PSI.

Toyota Camry tire information placard.
Tire information placard on Toyota Camry

Tire pressure should be inspected regularly. We recommend getting your own tire pressure gauge. After you check the air in a tire, remember to replace the valve stem cap. 

If you aren’t sure how to check your tire pressure or you need a refresher, take a look at our article and video.

Sometimes, drivers will add Nitrogen to their tires. This enables the tire pressure to remain more consistent. Due to the temperature change in fall, the pressure should be adjusted.

HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire is an authorized Michelin and BFGoodrich tire dealer located near Dumfries, Virginia. Automotive repair services are performed on all makes and models, including oil changes, brakes, alignments, inspections, and computer engine diagnostics. 

View Post

BFGoodrich g-force comp 2 A/S Plus Tire: All-season performance

In Tires & Wheels by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

The road is filled with compact and sports cars, and vehicles that are geared toward performance.

Many of these drivers are seeking a performance tire they can trust beyond the summer months. They want a tire that can be used year-round.

The BFGoodrich g-Force Comp 2 A/S Plus Tire delivers this capability. We recommend the all season tire for those interested in a product that does well when the weather is pleasant, the smell of rain is in the air, or there’s snow falling.

Being able to handle different kinds of road conditions is just one of its several perks.

BFGoodrich g-force comp 2 A/S Plus Tire lifespan

The benefits that this BFGoodrich Tire offers are possible because of a few design characteristics. Its g-force tread is the first one we’ll talk about.

An Advanced Mold Design and a Performance Tread Profile help prevent the tires from wearing unevenly.

These two traits contribute to this BFGoodrich tire’s lifespan, which can extend up to 45,000 miles. The average driver could go a few years before they need to replace it.

With its Performance Tread Profile, this tire offers users great traction when going around corners. That comes in handy when you’re driving on curvy roads.

The BFGoodrich g-Force Comp 2 A/S Plus Tire.
BFGoodrich g-Force Comp 2 A/S Plus Tire

Traction across different weather conditions

Ultigrip Technology is another feature that makes up this tire option.

The BFGoodrich g-Force Comp 2 A/S Plus Tire is meant to provide better braking and control in wet conditions and grip in the snow than the BFGoodrich g-Force Comp 2 A/S.

Thanks to an All-Season Compound, it’s able to grip the roads whether there’s sunshine or rain in the forecast. This compound consists of silica and is able to flex when the temperatures drop.

The tire’s performance on dry roads is supported by a squared-off shoulder. It’s also made up of V-shaped grooves, which help drivers avoid hydroplaning.

Directional Tread Design keeps you moving in various conditions. Whether you’re facing a pop up shower or winter weather is moving in, you can be assured that you will be on your way.

This BFGoodrich option is one of the best types of tires for winter in Northern Virginia.

BFGoodrich g-force comp 2 A/S Plus Tire offers control

This all season BFGoodrich Tire comes with a Performance Racing Core, as well.

It includes an Equal TEnsion Containment (ETEC) System, which aims to improve the traction provided at the speed someone is driving. This technology helps the contact patch perform at its best. 

A Dynamic Suspension System helps enhance control and provide a comfortable ride. Meanwhile, g-Control Sidewall Inserts allows the turning response to be instant.

So, you will be able to manage your travels while also enjoying them.

Other BFGoodrich Tire choices

The BFGoodrich g-Force Comp 2 A/S Plus Tire has a lot of good things going for it. But it may not be the right tire for every vehicle.

BFGoodrich Tire produces a range of reliable products. Another all season option that we recommend is the BFGoodrich Advantage T/A Sport Tire. The BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 Tire is a solid choice, as well.

BFGoodrich is owned by Michelin Tire, so it might be worth your while looking into tires made by Michelin or Uniroyal.

HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire is an authorized Michelin and BFGoodrich tire dealer located near Lake Ridge, Virginia. Automotive repair services are performed on all makes and models, including oil changes, brakes, alignments, inspections, and computer engine diagnostics.

View Post

Michelin X-Ice Snow Tire: A reliable winter tire

In Tires & Wheels by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

Winter weather in Virginia can vary each year. Sometimes, we will see less than an inch. At other times, it covers our yards and roads like a large blanket.

Certain parts of the state and country see more snow, especially higher elevations. If you live in one of these areas, you may want to consider purchasing a set of winter tires.

Winter tires should be installed once temperatures remain under 45 degrees Fahrenheit.

The Michelin X-Ice Snow Tire is an option that can handle snowy and icy conditions with confidence. 

How the Michelin X-Ice Snow Tire tackles deep snow

Motorists don’t need to worry when facing deep snow – the Michelin X-Ice Snow Tire is up for the job.

Traction in significant winter weather is possible, thanks to the v-shaped tread and wider grooves. These two features are also used to push away water, snow and slush.

There are also notched sipes that contribute to this Michelin tire’s gripping capabilities.

FLEX-Ice 2.0 compound is another trait that has led to success on ice and snow. The material helps the tire stay flexible as the temperatures drop. Not only does that impact the lifespan, it also increases the rolling resistance.

Mileage and safety

Drivers who choose the Michelin X-Ice Snow Tire don’t have to give up on tires that can travel a fair distance before being replaced.

It can go as long as 40,000 miles. When compared to the average of other tires, it could last up to one winter longer.

Plus, safety is provided, even miles down the road. 

The winter tire is able to stay connected with the road when drivers speed up, step on the brake and go around corners. This is because of the Flex-Ice 2.0 compound, Evergrip Technology and interconnected sipes.

Due to improved tread blocks and a tread design based on severe winter weather, hydroplaning is less likely to occur. In fact, the tire’s ability to handle hydroplaning is better than those that came before it.

The FLEX-Ice 2.0 compound and Michelin EverWinterGrip technology provide great braking on icy roads, even when the winter tire has seen some wear. Additionally, the stopping distance is shorter on snow, which can be attributed to two kinds of 3D sipes.

Other benefits of the Michelin X-Ice Snow Tire

Good mileage, snow traction, and characteristics that prevent hydroplaning are nice perks. However, they aren’t the only benefits of the Michelin X-Ice Snow Tire.

Drivers can also enjoy a ride that’s quiet, comfortable, and uses less fuel.

This tire isn’t only designed for larger, four-wheel drive vehicles. More than 120 sizes are available.

It’s really good for BMWs and Mercedes, allowing drivers to continue using their performance car during colder months. Some people will get rims for the wintertime and set aside their nicer ones until spring arrives.

Winter and all season tires

The Michelin X-Ice Snow Tire is one of several winter tires that Michelin produces. 

Depending on where you live, however, all season tires may be the right choice for you. There are plenty of options available, if that’s the case.

A couple of all season tires we recommend include the Michelin CrossClimate 2 Tire and the Defender 2 Tire, which is replacing the Defender Tire.

HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire is an authorized Michelin and BFGoodrich tire dealer located in Woodbridge, Virginia. Automotive repair services are performed on all makes and models, including oil changes, brakes, alignments, inspections, and computer engine diagnostics. 

View Post

BFGoodrich Advantage Control Tire gives drivers a quiet ride

In Tires & Wheels by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

Did you hear that sound? No. That’s because “quiet” is one characteristic that drivers will notice about the BFGoodrich Advantage Control Tire.

Life brings many noises – whether it’s through human interaction, various forms of media, or the completion of tasks.

The BFGoodrich Advantage Control Tire ensures that road sounds aren’t added to that mix.

A smooth, quiet ride is among the various benefits this tire offers users.

Silent and smooth

Why is it quiet? Well, the passenger tire is designed with a Computer Optimized Footprint, which controls how it wears overtime. This feature also extends the lifespan (more about that in a bit) and ensures the trip is a quiet one.

The journeys aren’t just enjoyable because of the lack of noise. 

Thanks to Next Generation g-Wedge Sidewall Stabilizer, the all season tire gives drivers a comfortable ride as well as solid control.

So travelers can embark on their adventures feeling confident and worry free.

All season reliability

Speaking of “all season”, the BFGoodrich Advantage Control Tire can be used throughout the year.

Made with Active Sipe Technology, it has biting edges that improve its grip in wet weather.

The BFGoodrich Tire also features Silica-infused Advanced All-Season Tread Compounds, which ensure that drivers maintain traction across the different seasons.

Made up of a curvilinear groove network, this passenger tire is able to push water away from the contact patch. The Aqua-Flume Technology aids with braking during wet weather.

Those aren’t the only ways this tire is reliable in wet conditions. It can also stop 8 feet shorter on wet roads than other tires.

BFGoodrich Advantage Control Tire.
BFGoodrich Advantage Control Tire

BFGoodrich Advantage Control Tire: Here for the long haul

People want to get the most out of what they invest in. The BFGoodrich Advantage Control Tire is a worthwhile purchase. 

Let’s back up for just a second. Earlier, we mentioned that the Computer Optimized Footprint plays a part in how long the tire lasts.

This tire comes with a long lifespan and can last as long as 75,000 miles.

What does that mean? For the average driver, it could mean going several years without replacing their tire. That helps keep money that might be spent on multiple low quality tires during that same time frame in their wallet.

This BFGoodrich Tire is a great value for those who chose to purchase it.

Other BFGoodrich Tires

The BFGoodrich Advantage Control Tire isn’t the only option in the BFGoodrich Tire family.

The BFGoodrich Advantage T/A Sport Tire and the BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 Tire are other all-season tires we recommend.

BFGoodrich Tire, which is owned by Michelin Tire, tends to produce economical tires. As does Uniroyal Tire. So, if you are looking for budget-friendly tires that are still high quality, that may be the route you want to go in.

Michelin Tire itself makes great, dependable options too. (The Michelin Defender Tire and the Michelin Premier A/S Tire, for example). Of the three tire producers, Michelin Tire has the highest quality tires.

Between BFGoodrich Tire, Uniroyal Tire, and Michelin Tire, there are many reliable choices available. Our staff members are happy to provide recommendations to any drivers who aren’t sure which tires are the best fit for their vehicle.

HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire is an authorized Michelin and BFGoodrich tire dealer located in Woodbridge, Virginia. Automotive repair services are performed on all makes and models, including oil changes, brakes, alignments, inspections, and computer engine diagnostics.

View Post

When to replace tires

In Tires & Wheels by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

Car tires nowadays are more durable and last longer than they used to.

However, they only last so long, and at some point they need to be replaced.

Drivers shouldn’t wait more than 8 to 10 years before getting new tires, but – depending on weather conditions – it might be closer to 6 years.

As tires age, the compound can start to harden a bit, possibly causing some traction issues – especially if it’s cold.

How do you know when to replace tires?

There are a few indicators that will tell you when to replace tires.

Cracked tires, or tires that have cracks on the sidewall, is one sign. This can occur because of age or the climate.

At that stage, the chance of the tire blowing out when you hit a rock, curb or pothole also increases. Depending on where it blows out, it could impact your ability to control the vehicle safely.

Taking a look at the tire tread depth will also give you an idea of where your tires are at. Performing the penny test is a quick way to check the tire tread, which must be at least 2/32 of an inch to pass the Virginia safety inspection. Most manufacturers start to recommend changing out the tires at 3/32, 4/32 or 5/32 of an inch, because the ability to stop, go, and move water away to maintain contact with the road diminishes greatly. 

Technician performing the penny test on a tire.
Tire penny test

To conduct the tire penny test, hold a penny on the grooves, with the top of Abraham Lincoln’s head down. If you can see the top of his head, you should replace the tire.

The tread wear indicators becoming visible means it’s definitely time to change the tires. For some vehicles – if the alignment is out – the tread wear indicator can hit on the inside or outside of the tire, compared to the rest of it. So, not only should you get a new tire you also need to figure out what’s going on with the alignment. Do you have a problem with the suspension system? Is it just out of alignment?

Tire damage: Not all tires are repairable

You may also need to get new tires when there is tire damage.

Maybe you were driving in a construction zone and ran over a nail, causing you to end up with a flat tire. You might hit a pothole or a curb a certain way, and cause damage to the sidewall or the tire to blow.

Sometimes, a tire just needs a plug patch. But other times – depending on the location and angle of the injury, a tire may not be repairable. It can’t be fixed if the damage is on the inner or outer shoulder. We talk more about when a tire is repairable in this article.

How to maintain your tires

Maintenance can help extend the life of your vehicle’s tires. Wheel alignments and tire rotations are two ways to do that.

One benefit of tire alignments, which are recommended once a year or when you purchase new tires, is that they prevent uneven tire wear. If you notice that your tires aren’t wearing evenly, it’s one sign you may notice when it’s time for a wheel alignment.

Having tire rotations done on a regular basis prevents tires from getting used to being on the front or back of the vehicle, which have different weight distributions.

Lifespan of tires

When to replace tires depends, in part, on their lifespan. So, how long do tires last? That depends on the manufacturer, the quality of the tire, and how it’s produced. 

Cheap tires, for example, won’t hold up as well or handle different weather conditions as others.

The lifespan of tires can vary. Good tires can last anywhere from 45,000 miles to 90,000 miles. This can be impacted by driving and weather conditions.

Michelin, BFGoodrich and Uniroyal produce a variety of reliable, all season tires. Some that we recommend include the Michelin CrossClimate 2 Tire, the BFGoodrich Advantage T/A Sport Tire, and the Uniroyal Tiger Paw Touring A/S Tire.

Vehicles, however, come in different sizes and have differing needs. So, before you buy a set of tires, reach out to a tire repair shop you trust to get their feedback and make sure any you are considering will be a good fit.

HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire is an authorized Michelin and BFGoodrich tire dealer located in Woodbridge, Virginia. Automotive repair services are performed on all makes and models, including oil changes, brakes, alignments, inspections, and computer engine diagnostics.

View Post

Are winter tires needed in Northern Virginia?

In Tires & Wheels by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

With winter being around the corner, drivers are looking into getting their vehicles ready for any possible inclement weather we may experience. Purchasing and replacing their tires with winter tires is one way some prepare.

There are a lot of questions people may have about winter tires. Here are some recommendations and information regarding this option.

Why should you check tires before winter?

Before winter, you will want to make sure that your tires are in good shape. Is the tread worn down? Do you have steel belts showing through the inside or outside edge? How are the sidewalls looking? Is the tire old or starting to crack due to age and weather? So, one of the most important factors is the condition of your tires. Most people have all season tires, so for places like commuting from the Woodbridge area your tires are going to be OK for the winter. But if they’re worn, they won’t be able to move water away as well.

If you have performance tires, which tend to be very grippy and good for the summertime, you may want to consider all season or winter tires for your vehicle.

For most of the driving that we do around here in Northern Virginia, all season tires are going to be the best bet for most drivers. 

For something like a Mazda Miata or a BMW that has performance tires, it’s a good idea to have either another set of tires or a set of rims and tires, so you can switch them all out for the wintertime. That way, you don’t have to worry about scratching up your nice rims. It will make a big difference, especially if you’re commuting.

What are the best types of tires for winter?

Depending on the type of vehicle that you have – whether it’s a car, truck or SUV – there are many choices. Some of it comes down to aesthetics, such as the look, and a lot of it is related to how the tire performs.

If you have an SUV or truck and want a tire with an aggressive design that you know can make it through the snow, the BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 Tire is a great option. It’s a tough, all-terrain tire that is rated for severe snow.

BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 Tire.
BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 Tire

For pickup trucks and SUVs typically used on the roads, the Michelin Premier LTX Tire is one to consider. That is an excellent tire. Not only is it good in wet weather – which is what we mainly see around here – but you know that you’ll be able to get around if it snows.

The Michelin Premier LTX Tire.
Michelin Premier LTX Tire. Photo courtesy of Michelin

Do you drive a car or SUV? We recommend the BFGoodrich g-Force Comp 2 A/S Plus Tire is surprisingly good in winter, because it acts like a tractor tire. It isn’t rated as a winter tire, but it offers great grip in all seasons.

The BFGoodrich g-Force Comp 2 A/S Plus Tire.
BFGoodrich g-Force Comp 2 A/S Plus Tire

Those who are looking for a true winter tire should look into the Michelin X-Ice Snow Tire, which provides confidence in snowy and icy conditions. Backed by a 40,000 mile warranty, this winter tire offers snow traction and does well braking in icy conditions. Drivers that use the Michelin X-Ice Snow Tire have a lower chance of hydroplaning, thanks to the tire’s tread design and tread blocks.

Michelin X-Ice Snow Tire. Photo courtesy of Michelin.

What are the benefits and disadvantages of snow tires and all season tires?

Snow tires are made for wintertime. They are designed for snow and maintaining traction when going over ice. Any tire will have a limited amount of traction in icy weather, but usually winter tires are a bit softer. The tread and siping are made to give you the most traction as you’re moving down the road.

Because winter tires are softer, they tend to wear faster when used on regular roads during the summertime. That’s why it’s a good idea to have them as a second set of tires for the winter. 

All season tires are the popular option, since they’re great year round and a lot of people don’t have room to store another set of tires. The all season tires perform well in summer and winter. You still want to make sure the tread depth and tire condition are good.

With Michelin, BFGoodrich and Uniroyal tires, your all season tire is going to get you around confidently.

How much do winter tires cost? How does that compare to all season tires?

How much you pay for tires depends on whether you’re driving a regular vehicle – like a Honda Accord or a Toyota Corolla, a Kia, small SUV, or a Chevy Tahoe – or whether you’re renting a Toyota pickup truck or an F-350 Dually. 

Depending on the size of the tire and the model of the tire, you can be looking at anywhere from $60 to $500 per tire. We realize that is a wide range, but it depends on what kind of vehicle it is, what are the performance characteristics of the tire – whether it’s a winter tire or all season tire. Uniroyal and BFGoodrich are both good and may be more economically minded compared to Michelin. The top of the line in that group is Michelin.

Obviously everybody has their own budget, but we recommend purchasing the best tires that you can afford. The tire is the only component in contact with the ground and makes the car go and stop. Everything else controls the tire. If you’re going to invest in your vehicle, this is where you want to invest your money.

HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire is an authorized Michelin and BFGoodrich tire dealer located in Woodbridge, Virginia. Automotive repair services are performed on all makes and models, including oil changes, brakes, alignments, inspections, and computer engine diagnostics.

View Post

Why you should check your lug nuts and wheel bolts

In Tires & Wheels by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

A lot of cars, trucks and SUVs have lug nuts or lug stud bolts – depending on the make – have a chrome coat or chrome caps. 

Over a period of time – due to normal wear and tear and the environment – they’ll start to rust between the iron part of the lug nut and the aluminum coating, or cap. This will cause the lug nuts to swell up. 

When you’re considering why you should go to your local repair shop over one of these speedy oil change places, keep in mind that an automotive technician can make recommendations and see what’s going on.

Why replacing a lug nut is important

If your lug nuts are starting to become damaged – whether they’re getting rounded off or they’re starting to rust underneath and the caps are beginning to swell up – it can make it difficult to remove wheels.

When they are replaced as needed, it’s easier to get your wheels on and off as you’re getting your tires rotated at your regular oil change intervals.  

This simple service doesn’t just permit maintenance to be performed on your vehicle. It also comes into play during unexpected situations.

Lug nuts that are swollen up due to the caps can also prevent you from replacing a flat tire on the side of the road. If you need to get your lug nuts off, your lug wrench may not fit correctly and you won’t be able to remove the lug nut. 

An auto repair shop over torquing your lug nuts or lug bolts is another issue you should look out for.

If the mechanics aren’t using a torque wrench to torque them correctly they could actually be over torquing them. Over a period of time, the threads start to stretch a little bit, damage you really can’t see until it’s too late.

How much are lug nuts? When should you change them?

Depending on the type of vehicle it is and the age, the lug nuts may need to be replaced anywhere between five and 15 years. The cost of lug nuts or lug bolts can range from $2 to $7 or $8 a piece on most vehicles. 

If your auto repair shop is taking the wheels off – whether it’s to conduct a wheel alignment, tire rotation, or brake repair – it may be worth your while to ask them if the lug nuts need to be changed. I can tell you right now that we would much rather put on new ones if we know they’re getting worn or damaged. This makes it easier for everyone all around.

Checking the lug nuts is part of our digital vehicle inspection that we perform as part of a normal oil change service. It’s one area we look at so we can provide that recommendation to you. 

HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire is an authorized Michelin and BFGoodrich tire dealer located in Woodbridge, Virginia. Automotive repair services are performed on all makes and models, including oil changes, brakes, alignments, inspections, and computer engine diagnostics.