New Tires for Sale in Birmingham, AL

Think about how much a vehicle weighs; even a lightweight car like the Nissan LEAF comes in at over 3,500 pounds. Now, take a second to think about how rough even a perfectly paved road actually is. Asphalt isn’t exactly silky smooth, and don't get us started on Birmingham's ridiculous potholes.

That’s what your car is driving and braking on every single day. It’s something that’s easily taken for granted, but one thing’s for sure: your tires are putting in some hard work as the only point of contact your vehicle has with the road. (Or, at least, they should be—if that’s not the case, seek help immediately.)

So, how often should you get new tires? Well, it depends on a number of things, including who you ask about it. The tire experts at Bridgestone recommend, for instance, a timeframe of roughly every 3 to 5 years. Pro automotive writers at Car and Driver, on the other hand, say that you can get away with 6 years, under the right circumstances.

The point is, there’s very little consensus, and that’s why it’s important to do some product research, regularly consult with a trusted mechanic near you, and follow the tire manufacturer’s guidelines. Here’s a little primer to get you started.

3 Main Causes of Tire Wear

New Nissan near Birmingham, AL
First, let’s look at what can affect tire wear and tear.

1. Total Weight

Just a second ago, we mentioned mass being a huge factor. Obviously, a lighter car is going to weigh a lot less than a fully loaded 2022 Titan XD, but you might be surprised to learn that there are a few different ways to measure weight:
  • Curb Weight represents the full weight of the vehicle, plus any factory add-ons, as well as any necessary fluids like motor oil and gas. This is often the weight cited by auto manufacturers on official websites.
  • Payload is everything else that isn’t the vehicle, like passengers and cargo (and this does include you, dear driver).
  • Gross Weight indicates the curb weight, plus the payload. So, basically the total weight of the vehicle in normal daily conditions.
That last one is the one that really matters when it comes to tire wear. If you’re just using your lightweight LEAF hybrid to drive yourself and the family around, you’re inflicting a lot less wear than the driver using their Titan to haul work equipment around or tow a trailer.

2. Type of Tire

Not all road rubber is created equal. Here are a couple of common types for cars, SUVs, and minivans:
  • All-Season Tires will provide solid traction, performance, and gas mileage for most passenger vehicle use. These are the most common, largely because they’re both affordable and reliable.
  • Touring Tires and Performance Tires tend to have improved handling capability, so these can be a better option for drivers who spend a lot of time traveling on the highway, because they have higher speed ratings, and thus won’t wear down as quickly at higher velocities.
  • Summer Tires are pretty self-explanatory—they’re optimized for warmer conditions. They tend to operate well in both rain or shine, but once the temperature drops, so does their ability to grip the road. For this reason, many folks avoid them altogether. If you’re buying tires in central Alabama, you’ll probably be fine for most of the year, but we’ve had some weird winters recently, so we generally wouldn’t recommend buying a set unless you plan on moving to The Keys.
Truck and larger SUV tires are classified a little differently, and are designed to be a bit tougher:
  • Highway Tires tend to have the all-season tread patterns of their car-oriented counterparts, but with more durable materials. They’re ideal for commuter trucks that don’t often leave the pavement, since they experience less wear on the highway, as the name implies.
  • All-Terrain Tires have knobby treads that grip on dirt and gravel more efficiently, but don’t sacrifice too much on the road, either. This is a good happy-medium for people who like to do a decent bit of camping or mudding on the weekends or have a job that requires them to drive across grittier land.
  • Off-Road Tires or Mud-Terrain Tires look awesome on the trail and can help your vehicle eat through some decent obstacles, but drivers will see a rougher ride and uneven wear if frequently driven on the highway. For this reason, this category is usually reserved for heavy duty work trucks and off-road enthusiasts.
This list is far from exhaustive, and always remember, folks: do plenty of research before you commit. It’s always a good idea to consult your tire supplier and ask the experts what’s going to meet your needs best.

Don’t forget to look into tire specials on major brands, like the ones through our Nissan Tire Advantage. If you’re buying new tires in Birmingham or Hoover, AL, check out our deals first – it might just save you some time!

3. Driving Conditions

New Nissan TITAN near Birmingham, AL
As you can see, there’s a type of tire for every driver, and picking the right one for you is key to ensuring longevity and saving you money in the long run.

Still, the fact is, some things are out of your control. One important question to ask yourself is, how many miles do you think you put on your car in a year? It’s generally assumed that the average person drives between 12,000 and 15,000 miles a year. If you’re an around-town kind of motorist who doesn’t commute far to work or take many road trips, your number will be lower. If you’re the road warrior type, well, the opposite will probably be true.

Weather can also have its effect. Those hot Alabama summers don’t do your tires any favors. Fluctuations in sunlight, temperature, and moisture can be damaging to the sidewalls, meaning your tires will last longer if you have a garage or a shaded spot to park.

Lastly, your driving habits will absolutely make a difference. Practicing gentle braking and gradual acceleration, especially at highway speeds, can do wonders. Keeping tires inflated to the proper pressure is also essential for preventing the edges from becoming rounded or cracked.

Classic Signs of Bad Tires: What to Look for

Now that we’re experts on what wears tires down, and what we can do to lessen that wear, let’s look at how to know for sure if it’s time to buy new tires.

Listen to Your Car

Tire Pressure Monitor warning in Birmingham, AL
Let’s get the obvious one out of the way first: the tire pressure warning light (pictured above). This doesn’t mean that you need a change immediately, but it does mean that you need to pump some air in. Not only does low pressure drastically reduce your tire’s longevity, but it can actually pose a safety hazard. Nissan’s even gone a step further and implemented Easy-Fill tire Alert, which ensures that drivers get the optimum pressure when airing up.

Driving with low pressure for an extended period of time can lead to some uneven bald spots on tires, which can in turn lead to unexpected road noise, or bumps on otherwise smooth roads. If you experience this, the tires should be the first thing you check.

Look for Signs

It’s a good idea to do a quick visual inspection of your tires. Start by looking for any obvious rounded edges or flat spots. Once you know what a normal ride height looks like, it’s impossible to miss if your tire is gradually losing air, even if your pressure sensor isn’t working. You could have a slow leak due to a faulty valve, or even a small unseen nail stuck in between the treads.

Speaking of treads: pay attention to those buggers! If you haven’t had your tires inspected in a while, you can perform a quick test with a simple edged ruler. Turn the steering wheel so that you can plainly see all the tread, then stick the ruler into the tread, nearest to the center. If the depth is 4/32 inches deep or less, it’s time to start shopping, and if the tread is 2/32 inches, it’s officially unsafe to be on the road, according to the NHTSA. If you don’t have a ruler handy, you can also use a quarter: stick it in the groove head-down, and if the top of the tread doesn’t touch Washington’s head, it’s too shallow.

Routine Service is Key

Tire Replacement in Birmingham, AL
Bringing your vehicle into the shop for a check-up every once in a while is the most important thing you can do—not just for your tire’s health, but the car as a whole. A trained eye is more likely to catch shallow spots, cracks, and dry rot, all of which can be potentially dangerous, and leave you on the side of the road. When you bring the car into the shop for any reason, be sure to ask for a quick tire inspection.

After an inspection, mechanics will sometimes recommend a tire rotation. People know all about oil changes, but they rarely set aside the time to do a routine rotation. Essentially, this process swaps the two front tires with the two rear tires. This may seem like a pointless exercise for shops to squeeze money out of you, but that’s far from the case. The reason is simple: front and rear tires actually wear at different rates.

This has to do with the front tires turning to steer, whereas rear tires remain static, meaning they experience different motions. Tires also wear differently depending on whether your car is front-wheel, rear-wheel, or all-wheel drive. For all these reasons, it’s usually recommended that you get your tires rotated approximately every other oil change, and this small extra cost every few months can save you hundreds down the road.

If you’re scheduling a service appointment at Jim Burke, be sure to ask about the stellar auto service coupons we have on tire rotations and balancing.

Let Jim Burke Handle Your Tires for You

Whether you need help diagnosing why your tire keeps going flat, replacing one tire, or ordering a whole new set of rubber, our tire shop near Hoover has you covered. Click to schedule tire service in Birmingham, or dial us up at (205) 390-7564 if you have any more questions.

Jim Burke Nissan proudly serves drivers throughout Jefferson County, including Hoover, Tuscaloosa, Homewood, Fultondale, and Bessemer.

Categories: Service, Parts