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Go Back   REVscene Automotive Forum > Technical Discussion > Suspension, Brakes , Wheels & Tires Tech

Suspension, Brakes , Wheels & Tires Tech THIS SPACE OPEN FOR ADVERTISEMENT. YOU SHOULD BE ADVERTISING HERE!
Suspension components, brakes, Wheels and Tires. All things related to how your car handles...

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Old 03-25-2019, 02:45 AM   #1
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When do you really need new tires?

I just took my 2011 Camry in for maintenance which has 45k miles. I was told everything was good except they marked all my tires as red requiring urgent attention and said I needed 4 new tires and wanted to charge me about $800. Here are my questions:

1. When do I REALLY need to change my tires? The tires look completely fine to me, I know there is some wear on them, but I have certainly seen much worse on other cars getting along fine. What happens if I don't change my tires? I of course will change them if they are completely worn out, but they don't look that bad to me.

2. Is there a recommended time line on when I should be getting new tires? After a certain amount of years or miles?

3. How much should tires cost? Where is the best place to get them and have them installed?

4. Finally, I was told that my tires were rotated. What exactly does that mean? One of the tires has a missing hubcap and it is in the same spot, are they supposed to move front tires to back? Left to right? What does this service actually do and how do I know if it was actually done?

Sorry for such basic questions, I don't know anything about cars. Thanks very much for your expertise.
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Last edited by Hotwire; 09-06-2020 at 07:10 AM.
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Old 03-25-2019, 09:48 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hotwire View Post
I just took my 2011 Camry in for maintenance which has 45k miles. I was told everything was good except they marked all my tires as red requiring urgent attention and said I needed 4 new tires and wanted to charge me about $800. Here are my questions:

1. When do I REALLY need to change my tires? The tires look completely fine to me, I know there is some wear on them, but I have certainly seen much worse on other cars getting along fine. What happens if I don't change my tires? I of course will change them if they are completely worn out, but they don't look that bad to me.
Brand new tires start out with 9/32" of tread depth, roughly 7mm. Under ideal conditions, your tires wear evenly across the width of the tire, and around the tire. Tires start to show significant performance drop once they are worn down to 4/32" (3mm) remaining tread depth. Your tires are no longer legal once they reach 2/32" (1.6mm) remaining tread depth. Average stopping distances in the dry increase by an additional 50ft for every 1/32" your tires are worn below 4/32". (very rough average, as it is dependent on each tire...but we're going for basics here). In the wet, the stopping distances are even worse. If your tires are not wearing evenly (which is common, as suspension components wear), one part of the tire might be above legal tread depth, while other parts are below legal tread depth. If ANY part of the tire is below legal tread depth, they are illegal to drive on.

Your camry is likely equipped with an all season tire designed for fuel economy, which means it uses a harder rubber compound and is going to offer worse handling and braking performance the further they are worn. You should never compare your tires against tires you see other people driving, as there are a lot of factors to consider. I use a very sticky compound tire on my car, for instance, which is designed for high-performance driving. The tire performs better at 5/32" than it does at full tread, and (presuming I am driving in dry conditions) is excellent all the way down to legal tread depth. The flip side is in the wet they are absolutely dangerous, and it's better to park the car vs drive it.

Quote:
2. Is there a recommended time line on when I should be getting new tires? After a certain amount of years or miles?
There is no legal requirement, but it is recommended that tires be replaced every 5 years, maximum 7 years in our climate. Tires slowly dry out as well, and a tire with excellent tread depth may show signs of severe damage such as sidewall cracking or tread separation. As they dry out, they get harder as well, making them less effective under steering and braking. Mileage is entirely dependent on the tire used. A hard all-season tire is going to get more miles than the performance rated tires I use. Poor storage (parking the car in an area with electric motors for instance), sun exposure, worn suspension components, and the way you drive are all factors in how long a tire lives.

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3. How much should tires cost? Where is the best place to get them and have them installed?
How much should a house cost? How much should I pay for a watch? How much should I spend on whiskey? and How much should tires cost? Are all questions that cannot be answered simply. There are a lot of factors to consider. When it comes to tires, it depends on the size, the type of tire, how much safety and performance you want, and brand you select. In general, a safer, better performing, tire is going to cost you more. Your best option is to go to a tire store chain like Kal Tire, OK Tire, or similar and get some advice there. I'd avoid Wal-Mart and Canadian Tire until you have a particular tire you're interested in, and then use Walmart, Can Tire and Costco for a price comparison on that tire brand, model and size only.

Quote:
4. Finally, I was told that my tires were rotated. What exactly does that mean? One of the tires has a missing hubcap and it is in the same spot, are they supposed to move front tires to back? Left to right? What does this service actually do and how do I know if it was actually done?
Tires wear unevenly, based on where they are located on the car. Drive wheels wear under acceleration, in your case the front tires. Front tires take more load under braking. Rotating the tires every 10,000km means moving a tire from one location on the car to another, to help even out the wear. In the case of your car, the front tires are moved the back (left front to left rear, right front to right rear), and then the rear tires are moved forward to the opposite side. Left rear to right front, right rear to right front. The missing hubcap is irrelevant to this procedure. The only way to know if it was actually done is to mark your tires before hand, but considering they probably did a brake inspection as part of the 45k service the wheels where already off the car so there is little reason to lie to you about completing it.
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