Your Toyota’s tires do more than get you to your destination. Tires play a crucial role in your vehicle’s performance and overall safety. Read more on how you can ensure you are maintaining your tires adequately.
Staying on top of your tire maintenance not only extends the life of your tires, but increases the performance of your vehicle. Under or overinflated tires wear down the treads of your tires unevenly, and may require changing. By monitoring your tire pressure, you can prevent underinflated tires from increasing your fuel consumption, or overinflated tires from creating added resistance.
Toyota Canada recommends having your tires inspected every six months or 8,000 km. Toyota offers 15 of Canada’s leading tire brands, and your local dealer can help you find the tires that are best suited for your vehicle and needs.
Tire specifications describe the characteristics of your tires. Size, construction, and speed rating are different for every tire. You can find your required tire size by looking at the sticker on your driver’s side door, or in your vehicle owner’s manual. You can also determine appropriate tire pressure here. Your tire type is defined by a letter designation, found on the sidewall of each of your tires. The most common type is P for passenger metric type. Other letters are LT (light truck), T (temporary spare), and ST (special trailers).
Your tire’s Uniform Tire Quality Grading (UTQG) grades each tire on three main components:
1) treadwear, the wear rate of the tire;
2) traction, the tire’s ability to stop; and
3) temperature, the tire’s ability to dissipate heat. Additional icons indicate if your tires have special ratings, such as the letters M and S, which indicate that the tire meets standards of a mud, all-season, or snow tire. Rating letters are found in the following combinations: M+S, M/S, and M&S.
Check Your Tread. Tires with proper tread depth provide you with better traction, reduced risk of a puncture, and help to prevent hydroplaning when driving in wet conditions. Monitor the tread of your tires by checking their depth frequently. You can do this by using a tread depth gauge or measuring with a toonie. By placing a toonie between your tire’s tread blocks, you can tell your tires need to be changed if the rubber only reaches the letters on the silver portion of the coin. Suitable tire tread would reach the polar bear’s paws. Alternatively, some tires have tread wear indicators that mark the minimum permitted tread depth. When these indicators are worn, it’s time to replace your tires.
Balance Your Tires. Driving on unbalanced tires can cause uneven wear, affect your steering, cause vibration and potentially unsafe driving conditions. Day to day driving causes changes in weight distribution around your tire and wheel assembly. Having your wheels inspected every 8,000 km will give you a smoother ride, reduce tire wear, and enhance your vehicle’s road performance. Balancing may be needed if you are feeling vibration in your steering wheel, floorboard, or seat when driving at high speeds, or if you see scalloped wear patterns on your tires.
Rotate Your Tires. Tires wear differently depending on your driving style, your vehicle, and the condition of your suspension. For example, on front-wheel drive vehicles, tires in the front tend to wear down faster due to added pressure or resistance from steering. It is recommended that you rotate your tires every 8,000 km to help reduce premature tire wear and the expenses that come along with replacing your tires completely.
Align Your Wheels. Driving on rough surfaces can knock your wheel alignment off centre and reduce your vehicle’s efficiency. Potholes are a major cause of alignment issues. You’ll notice an alignment is needed if your vehicle is pulling to one side when you drive or if you feel a vibration in your steering wheel. An alignment sets wheel angles to manufacturer specifications and weight is properly distributed around all tires and rims. By having your wheels aligned, you’ll experience a smoother ride, increased fuel efficiency, and costs savings by avoiding premature tire replacement.
In the Prairies, we experience extreme weather conditions including snow, ice, rain, and high heat. Temperatures affect the performance and safety of your vehicle and especially, your tires. Your local Toyota Parts and Service Centre can help guide you in finding the ideal tires that will serve you best in the climate conditions you face all year round.
In general, if you live in a warm climate, all season or summer tires will serve your purposes. Drivers who navigate in seasonal climates are sufficient running all-season tires year-round, as all-season tires work best in temperatures above 7°C. But for life in the Prairies, weather is extreme. When temperatures drop below freezing and there are frequent periods of heavy snow and ice, it is ideal to have one set of summer or all-season tires and one set of winter tires.
Winter tires should be replaced when they are 50% worn. At that point your tires are considered bald and a safety hazard, as the ability to stop the vehicle decreases significantly. This is due to the specially designed tread pattern built into winter tires to grip into snow and push away slush. The rubber compound is also designed to stay soft in cold temperatures less than 7°C.
The Tire and Rubber Association of Canada recommends installing your winter tires once temperatures outside dip below 7°C consistently 10 days in a row. Visit your local Toyota dealer to pick up our 7 degree window sticker. This will let you know when it is time to put on or remove your winter tires. Placed in the top left of your windshield, this sticker will turn blue when the temperature outside drops below 7°C.
Visit your local Prairie Toyota dealership for information on Tire Road Hazard Protection and tire storage availability.