Get a grip on the road this winter with good tires, brakes

By: Eric Czarnik | C&G Newspapers | Published October 23, 2018

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METRO DETROIT — Icy roads and slippery conditions this upcoming winter will mean that you’ll need to rely on your vehicle’s tires and brakes to come to a stop. And vehicle service specialists are giving tips on how to maximize your traction.

Joe Podgorski, owner of Madison Heights Tire and Auto, said it’s important to make sure that a vehicle’s tires aren’t worn out, especially if they’re all-season tires that are less specialized for snow.

“You may want to try a winter tire if you don’t get very good traction with what you have right now,” he said. “Winter tires are going to give you a lot better traction in the snow. … That’s what it’s made for, strictly winter. Soft compound, better grip.”

Podgorski said a tire’s tread depth becomes a potential problem when it’s around 4/32 of an inch, and definitely worn out when it’s down to 2/32 of an inch.

Shareek Asgarally, service manager at Dean Sellers Ford in Troy, said tires should be replaced after five to seven years no matter what, even if the tire treads are still thick. That is because tires can get dry rot over time, he explained.

“They lose chemicals that make the tires more pliable and grippy to the road, so the tires will break down over time,” he said.

A tire will reveal its age through a week and year of manufacture reflected in the last four digits on its Department of Transportation, or DOT, code, Asgarally said.

Asgarally also said that it’s important for the tires to be square in their alignment to one another, and to make sure that the inner and outer tire treads are able to grip the road.

But even the tires with the most traction won’t do much good if the vehicle’s brakes are worn. Asgarally said it’s a good idea to get a brake inspection before the winter. He explained that brakes with pads between 6 and 10 mm thick are in good condition. If they’re only 2 to 3 mm thick, they definitely need to be replaced, he said.

Learn more about Madison Heights Tire and Auto by visiting www.madtireautorepair.com or by calling (248) 543-4940. Find out more about Dean Sellers Ford in Troy by visiting www.sellersford.com or by calling (248) 643-7500.