Tired of buying tires? Education, road repairs key

Before going on a road trip, I put my car in the shop, usually for work I had been putting off for awhile. This week, I bought new tires. While I had read that tires should last about 3 years, I find myself replacing them every year and a half -- two years if I ignore the fact that the tread is nearly gone. Every time I go in to buy tires, I kick myself, wondering what I can do to make my tires last longer and save my checking account some cash. I always get them rotated at 5,000 miles and check them regularly for air pressure. Sure, I drive quite a bit, so that accounts for much of the wear and tear, but there must be something else I'm missing. While at the tire shop this week, I overheard the salesman explaining the difference between two tire brands a customer was debating on purchasing for his vehicle. While eavesdropping, I learned two things I never considered before as to why I may be buying tires so often:
  1. All tires are not made equally. Of the two brands the other customer was considering, one was made of a softer material than the other. That softer tire means more wear and thus another trip to the tire store for another purchase in the near future.
  2. The roads we travel impact tire wear, as well. The rougher the road and the more potholes you don't dodge, the more vulnerable your tires are to wear and tear.
The moral of the story is to do your homework when buying tires. Go online to see what people are saying about the tires you may be eyeing for your vehicle; pay attention to tire ratings that govern performance at various speeds – the higher the speed rating, the better the wear; and ask lots of questions of your tire salesman about things that concern you, such as tire material, noise level, amount of tread, control on the road and the tire's impact on your vehicle's fuel consumption. In regard to roads, make more noise to your government leaders about roads that need repair. If you live on a private road that's in disrepair, encourage your neighbors to take ownership of that shared road. In the long run, fixing broken roads will save everyone money. As for my new all-weather tires, I love them. They have deep, Grand Canyon-style tread, great for sucking away rain water, such as  from the oncoming storms forecast to drench us through next week. And they handle great. Hopefully, they'll last long and I won't find myself back at the tire shop buying a new set in a year and a half.
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