Find the Right Winter Tires for your Ford from the 13 Major Tire Brands
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Tires are engineered to deliver optimum performance and handling geared to your specific vehicle and driving habits. Naturally, you want your tires to last as long as they can. One of the ways to extend the life of tires is through proper care and maintenance, which is also important for safe operation, and may even help improve fuel efficiency.
Tire Thread Depth
Tires should be replaced when tread depth is 1/16” (2 mm). Here’s an easy way to check your tread depth with a toonie. Slip the toonie in between the tread blocks. If the silver part of the toonie is covered, your tires are about half worn. If the tread only reaches the words ‘CANADA’ or ‘DOLLARS’, it’s time to replace your tires.
Sidewall Wear & Tear
While tread depth is an important indicator of tire wear, some signs can also appear on the sidewall. It’s important to check the sidewalls regularly for bulges and cracks as these can lead to slow leaks or even a blowout when driving at high speeds. Sidewall cracks and bulges can occur after driving over potholes or hitting a curb.
Decoding the Sidewall
From size and tire type, to the date when your tires were manufactured, there’s a wealth of information in those numbers and symbols on your sidewall. The next few sections will explain in more detail.
If you drive a 2017 Ford Escape S, your tire size would be 235/55R17. Here’s what those numbers mean: 235 is the width in mm from sidewall to sidewall; 55 is the aspect ratio, so this means the height is equal to 55% of the tire’s width; R stands for radial construction; and 17 is rim diameter in inches of the wheel from one end to the other.
Load Index & Speed Rating
Using the 2017 Ford Escape S example, you would see 99H on the sidewall. 99 represents the load index – a number that corresponds to the maximum weight a tire can support when properly inflated (for 99, the maximum weight is 775 kg). H is the speed rating that tells you the maximum service speed for a tire, in this case. H stands for 210 km/h (but is not a recommendation to exceed speed limits!).
On the sidewall you’ll also notice 4 numbers, often preceded by the letters ‘DOT’. The DOT Tire Identification Number, represents the date of manufacture by week and year. So for example, if the number was 3616, that means your tires were made in the 36th week of 2016.
The Right Tires For Every Ford & Every Climate
When the temperature dips below 7°C, it’s time for winter tires. The rubber compounds remain flexible even in extremely cold temperatures, allowing the tire to grip the road better. Plus, tread designs with larger gaps help provide increased traction on slush, snow and ice. All winter tires come with a mountain snowflake symbol to let you know that they meet specific traction performance requirements set by the Tire and Rubber Association of Canada.
Sometimes called summer tires, performance tires are designed to help give increased handling, superior traction, cornering and braking in certain dry and wet warm weather. They feature unique tread patterns, construction features, and rubber compounds to help provide enhanced precision and responsiveness. One of the most visible features that can help you spot a performance tire is the short, low profile sidewall.
All-season tires help provide versatile traction for certain wet, dry and lightly snow-covered roads. Grooves in the tread pattern help disperse water to help improve grip. All-season tires are designed to perform well in a variety of conditions, but because of this, they won’t provide the same amount of extreme grip and sharp handling as a performance tire, nor the ability to trek through deep snow or drive on ice. They’re kind of like the jack-of-all-trades of tires.
Tire Tips from Ford Tire Experts
Proper tire care and maintenance is one of the many ways to extend the life of your tires.
Here are some tips from the ones who know your Ford best.
Rotating tires means moving tires from one position to another. For example, putting the rear tires in front and moving the front tires back. Doing so ensures even wear to give your tires a longer life and can save you money. Refer to your vehicle’s owner manual to find out the recommendation on how often tires are to be rotated and you can always ask your Ford technician about timing.
A properly inflated tire will last longer, and give you a more responsive, smoother ride. Proper inflation may even optimize fuel efficiency so it could save you money too. Check your tire pressure at least once a month and make sure each tire is at the recommended PSI (pounds per square inch), which can be found in your owner’s manual or on the driver’s side door jamb.
Tire Mobility Kit
Your Ford vehicle may come with a Tire Mobility Kit if you don’t have a spare tire. This lets you reinflate a tire that has lost pressure or seal a punctured tread. The Tire Mobility Kit has an air compressor to reinflate your tire, a pressure gauge to check that the tire is properly inflated, and a canister of tire sealing compound. The Tire Mobility Kit provides a temporary fix until you can get your tire repaired.
Correct wheel alignment may maximize your Ford’s performance, tire life, and gas consumption too. Everyday driving, especially on bumpy roads or over potholes, can throw your alignment off causing your vehicle to pull to one side or your steering wheel to vibrate. When the alignment is off, your tires may wear unevenly, decreasing their lifespan. If something seems off while you’re driving, have your Ford technician check your vehicle’s alignment.
Tire Maintenance Questions
When you purchase tires at your Ford dealer, our expert technicians will keep service records to let you know of any necessary tire maintenance, but feel free to ask your technician any of the following questions when you come in for service.
- Is the tread depth acceptable?
- Are there any cracks or signs of wear and tear on the sidewalls?
- Is the air pressure at the recommended level? (This can found in your owner’s manual or on the door jamb.)
- Do the tires need rotating? (This is usually done when you change the oil or switch from winter to summer tires.)
- Did you check the wheel alignment and tire balance? (Be sure to ask this if you feel your vehicle pulling to one side as this can be an indicator that the alignment is off.)
- Is the spare tire in good condition (if you have one)?