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Breaking In Tires
Almost everyone needs new tires for their vehicle at some point. Whether it’s a necessary replacement, or a specific upgrade, new tires are intended to give your automobile proper handling, braking, and steering capabilities. D id you also know that you tires have to be broken in? It’s true; tire break- in is essential for stability and performance.
Before you break in tires, you first need to know what tires to buy. This process begins with VIP. With 56 stores in Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts, we have one of the most extensive selections of tires and wheels in New England. We carry products from over 28 manufacturers, ensuring that all our customers have access to the best brands and most new tire options on the market today.
There are many types of tires out there, from all season tires, to winter tires, to light truck tires, to Ultra-High Performance (UHP) tires. Within the many different tire categories , every tire brand and specification is different. It all depends on what you are looking for. If you need better traction in the winter for your small hybrid vehicle, or tires for enhanced speed capabilities, we’ve got them. You just need to know what tires are right for your vehicle and VIP can help you . We can also find the products that best reflect your style. Once you have your tires, it’s time to focus on breaking them in the right way.
How to break in new tires
When you think about breaking something in, your mind may turn to a new pair of shoes or your first baseball glove. It’s the same principle with breaking in tires, but not necessarily the same approach. With a baseball mitt, for example, you may dive right into the breaking- in process, using the glove as much and as roughly as possible to obtain flexibility. When it comes to how to break in tires, there are some specific steps to take.
While it might seem natural to think that new tires should be the best they’ll ever be when they are newly mounted, when you take a closer look at the tire curing process, you’ll understand why they are not. Tires are made from layers of rubber, fabric, and steel. When they are produced, molds are used. In order to prevent the tires from sticking to these molds, a release lubricant is applied to the tires. Until it is worn down, your tires will have this lubricant residue that negatively impacts your traction.
The most universal recommendation for tire break- in is driving 500 miles of easy acceleration, cornering, and braking. This will wear down the last remnants of the release lubricant and allow your tires to start working the way that they should. Here are the top five considerations to keep in mind when breaking in tires.
1. New tires may initially seem slower to respond than your old tires:
It may seem strange, but your new tires may lack the same immediate response as your old tires. This doesn’t mean you’ve wasted any money, or you should have kept your worn out tires. Simply, low tread depth tires have quick response times, and is why racecar drivers often shave them down. Once you break in tires, you’ll have your response time back, in addition to gaining a more reliable and safer ride.
2. Don’t try to rush the tire break in process:
Breaking in tires requires 500 miles or so. You need to take this time to explore your tires in the most careful way possible. In other words, it’s not the best idea to jump in the car and take a cross-country road trip to speed up the break in process. Take your time, get a feel for the tires, and before you know it you will have them ready for their optimal performance.
3. Watch your speed and your braking:
As soon as you get your tires, you may be tempted to hit the highway and take them for a test drive. It’s best to keep your speed under 50 mph in the initial tire break- in period. Also remember to use some extra caution while braking. Your new tires won’t respond as fast, and they can’t accommodate sudden starts and stops while they are still settling in.
4. Avoid road hazards and car washes:
When you break in tires, you need to be a little more conscientious of the terrain with your driving habits. Avoid rocky roads (i.e. dirt and gravel surfaces) and potholes since debris can wedge itself between the tire and rim. When they are still getting settled, something as small as heavy amounts of gravel could put you at risk for a leak. Avoiding messy surfaces is also a great idea since car washes aren’t recommended during the tire break- in period, either. Many car washes grab onto the wheels to pull you along a track, and can pull your new tires apart from the rims.
5. Professional tire installation is key:
If you are tempted to install your new tires yourself, please remember that improper installation can often lead to serious problems. At VIP, our skilled ASE certified technicians use sophisticated technology to install them correctly the first time. Even with this expertise, it is still important to take it easy for the first 50 miles or so, so the tires can settle into their rims. Make sure to note your mileage so you’ll know when you hit 50 miles, and can resume normal (safe) driving until you get to 500 miles when the break in period is over.
Winter tire break- in
In addition to the general tire break- in process, winter tires have a few more considerations to keep in mind. Many of our customers here in New England rely on winter tires for extra traction on winter ice and snow. This traction is made possible with deeper tread depths and more open tread designs. However, this very same tread can reduce some handling response times before they are broken in. Bear this in mind before you bring your new tires out into a heavy storm. They need time to adjust and settle before they can handle the conditions that they were designed to meet.
Studded tires come with extra recommendations for the break in period. Studs look similar to carpenter nails, and studded tires usually have between 80 to 100 studs on each tire. When these studs are installed, a special lubrication process is necessary. It takes time for the tread to compress around the stud and for the lubricant to evaporate. In this time, drive slowly (less than 30 mph), and avoid hard braking or sudden acceleration for the first 62 miles. Additionally, if you are looking for a tire that can handle high speed driving, studded winter tires are not for you. Extreme speeds can eject the studs.
Breaking in tires with VIP
VIP is ready to help you select the right tires for your needs. We back all of our tires with a VIP 30 Day Ride Guarantee and we also offer the VIP Road Hazard Replacement Guarantee if you need it. We are available to install your tires whenever you need them , even on Sundays! Of course, tire installation is only the first step in your relationship with your tires. Our staff and ASE certified technicians are committed to helping you get the most from your tires (backed by our 200% Low Price Tire Guarantee). They’ll give you the right strategies for extending the life of your tires without digging into your pockets. For instance, make sure you check your tire pressure monthly throughout the year, and weekly in the winter to maintain your tire performance. Also, remember to rotate your tires to further extend their life. Finally, if you want more detailed information on breaking in tires, we’re happy to talk. Call VIP today!