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Caring For SUV Tires: What To Do, Why And When

What’s the secret to caring for SUV tires and making them last longer? Aren’t these tires supposed to last forever? Aren’t they marketed to be indestructible?

Caring for SUV tires starts with preventive maintenance. Knowing your tires, its limits, physical capabilities, and constantly checking on its physical can help prevent premature wear and tear or damage. Knowing when to rotate or replace your tires can help prevent delays or accidents.

Caring For SUV Tires
Caring For SUV Tires: What To Do, When And Why

With proper vigilance, you can lengthen the lifespan of your tires and ensure the safety of everyone on the road including yourself.

The good thing is, SUV tires are built of extremely tough materials. Perhaps this is to anticipate its use in off-road situations. When compared to regular tires, SUV tires definitely have a definite advantage. These are bigger, heavier, thicker, and more durable in construction. They can take a lot of abuse.

And they should. SUV tires are equipped on larger vehicles that are meant not just to carry people but a sizeable load as well. They’re also expected to pull a trailer every now and then. These tires are also expected to perform well under any condition from regular road use to extreme weather conditions.

That’s why SUVs are the preferred vehicle by doomsday preppers. They expect an SUV to survive a trip to hell and back with only a few scratches on the paint. The tires are expected to never fail in any situation that requires the survival of all the passengers.

Sadly, nothing truly lasts forever. Not even tires advertised to survive the apocalypse. SUV tires like all tires in the market, will eventually succumb to wear and tear and worse, damage caused by external factors. So, let’s discuss how you can properly go about caring for SUV tires, what to do, why and when.

Table of Contents

First, Have A Flat Tire Tool Kit

Before we even begin, let’s make sure you have a flat tire tool kit inside your vehicle. What’s a flat tire tool kit, you ask?

It’s the one thing that can spell the difference between driving and walking home. You should always have one in your cargo area for emergency situations.

Here are the items you should have in your flat tire tool kit:

Vehicle Owner Manual

This is the most important document needed inside the car aside from the Original Receipt, Certificate of Registration, and Insurance papers. The Vehicle Owner Manual has essential information telling you the proper tires to use on your SUV and how to go about caring for SUV tires equipped.

Tire Gauge

Most people fail to recognize the importance of having a tire gauge. This small device can help you take out the guess work when checking your tires’ pressure. Sometimes, a visual check just isn’t enough when ensuring you have enough or too much air in your tires.

Just remember: overinflating your tires is just as dangerous as underinflating them. A tire gauge gives you a more accurate reading of how much PSI you have in your tires.

How To Check Your Tire Pressure

The best time to check your tire pressure is when your tires are cool. That means they’ve been allowed to cool down or haven’t been driven for a couple of hours.

Insert the tire gauge into the nozzle and wait for the reading to appear. If underinflated, inflate. If overinflated, remove the excess air.

When To Check Your Tire Pressure

Check your tire pressure every 3000 miles to ensure optimal conditions and increase fuel economy and mileage. If you don’t use your car as frequently, check every month’s end on a regular basis.

It is also highly advised to check your tire pressure before embarking on a long trip. The 3000 mile rule and cool down period before checking still applies

You should also expect your tire pressure to change if there is a shift in temperature by around 10 degrees or more.

If you expect not to use your car for an extended period of time, remove the tires and place your car on solid jacks. This should prevent unnecessary stress on the tire or worse damage due to the entire weight of the car resting on a flat tire.

Heed Your TPMS’ Warning

Some modern cars have a TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System) installed which alerts the driver if one or more tires have low or high pressure. When the TPMS light goes on, stop immediately and check your tires and add or remove air accordingly.

If the TPMS light keeps going off, you may need to have your tires checked or the TPMS sensor examined by a professional.

Spare Tire (Inflated Or A Matching Aftermarket Tire)

The next time you have your tires inflated, ensure your spare tire gets inflated too. You’ll never know when you’ll need to use it to crawl to a proper repair shop if you get a flat. Another advice is to replace the spare tire with a regular sized tire that matches what you have equipped on a regular basis.

A Hydraulic Jack (Or Two)

You’ll need a sturdy hydraulic jack, preferably an alligator-type jack instead of the stock ones that come as a freebie in modern cars these days. A heavy duty jack can lift heavy cars with minimal effort which is important if you have an SUV. Pick one that you can easily store into the cargo space easily.

This Is A Proper Hydraulic Jack
This Is A Proper Hydraulic Jack

Having two jacks is a plus especially if you’re working on uneven terrain or have to reach further into the center of the SUV. You can also use your jack to gently lower your spare tire from its enclosure under the SUV. Make sure both are lubricated properly and clean any grit or dirt particles that stick to the jack.

A Lug Wrench (Or Better Yet, Get A Cross Wrench)

Although everything listed under the essential items for your flat tire tool kit is important, those can be replaced with other items. But not a lug wrench. You need it to remove the lug nuts holding your tires in place.

Most modern cars have stock lug wrenches included as a basic road repair kit but you should get a sturdier one. These are designed to be as small as possible for easy storage often sacrificing practical use making them hard to manipulate in emergency situations. Get a cross wrench to make it easier to replace tires.

The Most Useful Cross When You Have A Flat
The Most Useful Cross When You Have A Flat

Lug nuts tend to stick especially if you’re not as vigilant with performing preventive maintenance on your SUV. Aftermarket lug wrenches are built with sturdier materials and provide the grip needed to prevent shearing your lug nuts off.

A cross wrench gives you enough leverage to turn even the most stubborn lug nuts without any trouble because of the intersecting bars. To make it even easier, bring a small can of WD-40, spray a little on the lug nuts and give it a few seconds before trying to loosen them.

Tire Brace

A small piece of wood or a brick. You can also buy a light plastic block designed specifically for this purpose to cut down on the added weight in your cargo area. These things prevent your car from rolling out of place when replacing a flat tire or performing road side repairs.

Early Warning Device

Early warning devices are required equipment in any vehicle. These items warn oncoming cars of a potential danger or a road hazard. In this sense, that would be you if you ever have to perform roadside repairs. Make sure your EWDs are highly visible and reflective to be effective.

Add flares if you can but store them properly to avoid a dangerous misfire.

And that’s it. These things shouldn’t take up too much space in your cargo area and the added weight should be minimal. Their value though, is priceless especially if you’re out in the middle of nowhere with a flat tire and no help in sight for miles.

Oh and do yourself a favor and learn how to properly change a flat tire before you drive off in your SUV. We’ll cover that in the next section.

How To Fix A Flat Tire (Or How Not To Be Helpless While Waiting For Triple A To Arrive)

One of the worst things about driving today is our dependence on Triple A or other car repair companies to come and help with something as simple as a flat tire. You don’t actually need to call these companies up if it’s only a simple flat on one tire and you have a spare.

Don't Let This Be You When You Have A Flat Tire
Don’t Let This Be You When You Have A Flat Tire

It also helps if your SUV has a flat tire tool kit.

And remember: if you ever get a flat tire, stop immediately and get the flat tire tool kit out.

Here’s How You Change A Flat Tire Easily

Park Your SUV Immediately

Park your SUV immediately away from traffic. Find a shoulder where you can safely perform the necessary repairs. Use flares or other early warning devices if necessary to alert people of your presence and the hazard you may pose. You may also want to switch those hazard lights on for added visibility.

Identify which tire is affected. If more than one tire is affected and you only have one spare, you might have to start calling for help. If only one tire is affected, then you can perform the tire replacement on-site. No need to call anyone to get you out of a sticky situation.

Brace The Tires

If you have braces, place the material behind and in front of an unaffected tire. Make sure it remains stationary despite your flat tire getting lifted by the jack by ramming those pieces in firmly.

Get The Spare Tire Out

SUV spare tires are often located under the rear portion of the vehicle. Some are mounted on a tire mount on the rear hatch. Either way, get your spare tire out before getting the jack out.

Get The Jack Out

Next thing to do is to position the jack underneath your vehicle. There are bracing points that you can identify visually or by referring to the owner’s manual.

Pump the jack up a bit before placing it under the car. Make sure your jack is resting on a flat surface underneath the car and that it doesn’t roll off to prevent additional damage. Make sure you only jack it up enough to provide just enough pressure without lifting the tire up off the ground yet.

Remove The Hubcaps And Loosen The Lug Nuts

Remove the hubcaps or center cover so you can access the lug nuts. Now, loosen the lug nuts by turning them counterclockwise. You might need to spray on some WD-40 if the lug nuts are screwed on too tightly or have oxidized because of the elements.

Jack The Car Up And Complete The Tire Removal

Once all the lug nuts are loosened, jack the car up high enough to lift the tire up off the ground. Remove all the lug nuts making sure you work your way up from the bottom. The topmost lug nut is going to keep your tire in place.

You can position braces under the tire or support the weight with your feet before completely removing the last lug nut and slipping the tire off without dropping it heavily on the ground. Now is not the right time to ruin your shiny rims.

Attach The Spare Tire

You’ll basically be doing things in reverse at this point. Meaning, you’ll have to place the spare tire back into the position of the original tire (the flat one) and place all the lug nuts back in place. For best results, attach the topmost lug nut first before placing all the rest.

Tighten the lug nuts enough by turning them clockwise. Don’t use too much force at this point, you just need the lug nuts tightened to ensure the tire is in place. Doing that could knock the car off the jack.

You don’t want that.

Release the air in the jack by turning the deflate button and allow the tire to rest on the ground. Once that’s done, tighten the lug nuts further for a flush fit.

Voila! Now you can drive off again.

Make sure you reinstall the flat tire in the spare tire enclosure, put away all the tools properly. Clean off excess dirt as much as you can before placing the flat tire tool kit back into the SUV.

Do A Safety Check Before And After Driving Off

Do a once around to ensure everything is okay before driving off. After a few miles, check your lug nuts again to see if they are tightly screwed on.

And there you go. Doesn’t that make you feel like you can conquer the world now? Knowing how to change your tire is one of the essential skills one must learn if they want to own or already have a car.

 

Other Sticky Situations And How To Deal With It

Aside from a flat tire, you can get yourself in other situations where roadside repairs are needed. The best thing you can do to deal with these situations is to always be prepared. With that, we’ll start this section with being prepared as part of your practical caring for SUV tires guide.

Always Be Prepared

The best thing you can do is to always be prepared. You need to constantly check ahead of you to anticipate any situation or obstacle that your tires may not be able to handle. Yes, this rule also applies to SUVs.

Despite the notion that you can basically go anywhere in your SUV, there are just some situations that might arise preventing you from doing that.

Always make sure you have your basic flat tire repair kit and other roadside repair equipment for any other emergency. You should still have it inside your SUV even if you’re not that handy because some may come along and have the technical know-how to help you out.

Situational awareness is also a good thing to develop to make sure you never get into any situation where you’ll be left helpless on the side of the road waiting for a tow truck to get you.

Bring A Shovel

There’s no other vehicle in the world where having a shovel seems like a normal thing than an SUV. In fact, it’s expected. So bring a shovel with you to get your SUV out of sticky situations when the need calls for it.

Mud? Snow? Sand? Not a problem. Get that shovel out and scoop those away to get more grip.

There are military grade shovels that you can buy which you can fold to store away. You don’t need an oversized shovel because you only need to scoop enough of the muck away to get going again.

Rock Your SUV Back And Forth

Powering your way out of a sticky situation isn’t always the right move. Sometimes this can get you stuck even further. Stepping on the gas too much will only cause you to sink lower into the muck. Not only are you wasting fuel but you also run the risk of stripping your tires unnecessarily.

A simple way to deal with this is to rock your SUV back and forth until you get out. All you have to do is place your SUV in reverse and tap on the gas pedal as far as you can from your current position without spinning the tires in place.

Now shift to a lower gear and tap the gas pedal again until you reach the farthest forward without slipping.

Shift to reverse and allow the momentum of your vehicle coming from this opposite direction help you drive as far back as you can. Repeat this process until you get your SUV out.

The key objective here is to increase the distance from your current position you can get your SUV out of its current position. It also helps if you put the brakes on and place some dry material under the car each time you reach the limit so you have something to get a grip on.

That will be discussed further on the next item.

Improve Your Grip

You don’t want to be slipping and sliding in place as this causes unnecessary wear on the tire. This also wastes a lot of gas. What you need is to provide your tires with some grip or traction. You can do that by shoveling dry, coarse material underneath the car.

Place some planks of wood or other material as long as it has a surface your tires can drive on without slipping or sliding. You can also deflate your tires a little to increase your surface area. Just remember to inflate them back up again when you have the chance.

Know When It’s Time To Call For Help

If you’ve exhausted all of your resources, call a car repair company and have yourself towed to the nearest shop.

Now to learn more about your tires, tire sizes and preventive maintenance.

 

How To Find Your Tire Size, PSI Settings, And What Terrain You Can Use Them On

The next thing you need to figure out is how big your tires are, the proper tire pressure settings, maximum load capacity, and what ideal terrain they can be used on.

You can find all of these information on your tire’s sidewall.

In addition to that, you can also find this information on:

Your driver’s side door jamb

Inside your glove box door

Within your gas tank hatch

Just remember, these are just applicable for stock tires on your SUV.

Reading Your Tire’s DOT Serial Number

Take a look at your tire’s sidewall and you’ll see a series of numbers and letters on it. This information is embossed and is included in the mold that shapes each individual tire that comes from the specific manufacturer offering it. This is the DOT serial number.

Most people don’t understand what it stands for. In fact, you don’t really have to know what it stands for. But then again, the more information you have, the better prepared you’ll be in caring for SUV tires you have on your vehicle.

Reading Tires Like A Pro

isolated-race-car-tire

DOT Serial Number

DOT stands for Department of Transportation. This number is located on the lower sidewall of each tire, showing that the tire meets or exceeds the Department of Transportation safety standards.

For tires made in the 2000s, you’ll have 12 digits while older tires will only have 11.

Here’s what that looks like:

A5BCDE4F3210

This is divided into four sections: A5, BC, DE4F, and 3210. Each one has a coded information attached to it.

A5

The first two digits stands for the manufacturer’s code. Each manufacturer is assigned a specific code to help trace the origins of the product back to where it was originally made.

BC

The next two digits indicate the Government size and ply code of the tire.

DE4F

What follows is the Manufacturer Construction Code which helps track down the specific mold used to create the tire. This narrows down the origin of the tire to which factory it was made and the materials used to make it.

3210

The last set of numbers indicate the Tire Build Date. The first two numbers indicate the week, the last two indicate the year. In this case, the tire example we have was made on the 32nd week of 2010 or any time between August 9-15, in 2010.

But that’s not all. You’ll also find another set of codes indicated on your sidewalls which for many, is more important. This makes it easy for mechanics and/or salesmen to read and know what type of tire you have or need. It will look like this: 195/60/R15 95H

That series of numbers and letters translate to: (195) tire tread width in millimeters/(60) aspect ratio/(R) basic construction, (15) wheel diameter, (95) load index, and (H) speed rating.  

To expound:

Tire Tread Width (195)

This is measured in millimeters and is a clear indicator of how thick your tires are. To test this, you can use the coin test.

Aspect Ratio

Aspect ratio is the technical term for sidewall height. The number is a percentage of the tire’s width. In this case, the number 60 stands for 60% of the tire’s tread width.

Basic Construction

This is optional for some manufacturers and is an indicator for the basic build and/or construction of the carcass.

Wheel Diameter

The number 15 is the width of the rim in inches.

Load Index

The number 95 stands for the max weight your tires can handle.

Speed Rating

This letter is the code for the maximum speed appropriate for your tire.

Other Optional Indicators

These letters may appear on your tires as additional information from the manufacturers.

Tire Carcass Code
Bias Belt Ply (B)

This is the best type of tire for your SUV. These tires have a fiberglass or steel support which ensures a radial tire-like ride on paved roads. It’s also tough enough to handle off-road terrain.

Diagonal Ply (D)

These are solely for off-road conditions. Using these on paved roads easily wears these down. These tires are constructed out of nylon and are not meant for any heavy-duty work or off-road use.

Cross Ply (C or no letters at all)

Cross ply tires are made out of interlocking cords of nylon at 45 degree angles. These are extremely hard but rely on an inflated inner tube inside to support the tire on the rim. These tires are also the most affordable but are also the most fragile.

Once punctured, the rubber tubing is left unprotected and prone to getting penetrated by sharp objects.

Tire Use Code

Passenger (P)

Mostly used for conventional sized tires. Can be cross ply, radial, or bias ply.

Light Truck (LT)

These tires are appropriate for SUVs.

Special Trailer (ST)

Mostly used for trailers of all sizes.

Temporary (T)

Usually used as spare tires. Use with caution and only for short distances.

What Is PSI?

You’ll be seeing the term PSI used a lot in this article. So, what is PSI?

PSI means Pounds per Square Inch. This is the common unit of measurement for pressure. 

A conventional tire has 32 PSI which is enough to carry the dry and curb weight of the car up to the maximum prescribed load. As such, it is understood that SUV tires have more PSI owing to the bigger size of the actual vehicle plus the expected load.

When caring for SUV tires, you have to ensure that you are putting in the prescribed amount of PSI per tire for optimal conditions.

You can find the PSI on the tire itself which is more reliable than what you would find on the door jamb as most people replace their stock wheels for sturdier, aftermarket replacements.

Use a tire gauge to check your PSI on a daily or weekly basis to ensure you always have enough inside your tires before heading out. You can also do a visual check to see if you have an under inflated tire by doing a once around before leaving the garage.

If your tire requires more pressure, you can always head to the nearest gas station and load up there.

Terrain Or Proof That Not All Tires Are Made Equal

SUVs are built to conquer all types of terrain. Up front you have a massive engine that delivers a lot of power and underneath, a competent suspension system that can rock and roll with the best of them. But all that power and agility is worth nothing if you don’t have the right tires equipped.

Conquer The World With The Right Set Of Tires
Conquer The World With The Right Set Of Tires

In this section, we’ll discuss the different types of tires you can slap on your SUV to get the most out of it.

Mud Tires

SUVs are fun to play in the mud with. To have even more fun, get some mud tires and get dirty.

Mud tires have extremely large, paddle like treads much like a dune or sand tire. The wide spaces in between the oversized treads allow the tire to scoop out mud and move the SUV forward. Needless to say, the vehicle behind you is going to get sloshed so make sure you put enough distance between you and friends.

Mud tires allow you to claw yourself out of the muck by pushing mud out in all directions. The large profile keeps you aloft and the soft construction provides you with just enough traction to keep moving forward.

Rock Climbers

Another fun way to enjoy your SUV is to go rock crawling. These tires are extremely tall and wide with oversized treads to provide grip. These tires have reinforced steel ply to reduce the risk of sharp rocks tearing through the carcass. Some rock tires even have Kevlar or silica for more durability against sharp edges.

The height of the tires keeps your SUV off the ground and the suspension does the rest.

Rock tires are inflated or deflated on site depending on the need. Keeping it underinflated allows the rock tires to mold itself according to the terrain and provides the necessary grip to make it go forward. Once cleared, the tires are inflated again until the next obstacle.

Sand Tires

SUVs are great for sand or dune recreational activities. To get the most of the experience, you’ll need sand tires. These tires have huge paddle like treads which are almost the same as those on mud tires except these are exceptionally smooth.

These tires are built to keep your SUV from sinking and above the sand.

Because sand gets into a lot of places and causes a lot of damage, SUVs used for sand activities have more modifications done to it to keep the grit from entering essential places.

Snow Tires

Snow tires aren’t just for SUVs. These tires are also available to conventional cars to allow everyone to still get from point A to point B despite the adverse road conditions.

Snow tires are specially made for winter road conditions. The metal tacks embedded into the carcass provides the grip needed to keep your car firmly on the road. SUVs are expected to stay on the road whatever conditions are present.

You can also use a chain mesh wrapped around your regular SUV tires to act as snow tires if you can’t buy any in your locale.

SUV Tire Maintenance

Taking tires of your tires on a regular basis is a small investment that will ensure longevity. If you take care of them well enough, you’ll end up saving a ton of money in terms of keeping your tires in shape, improve fuel and energy economy and increasing your safety.

Here are some basic tire maintenance tips

Inspect Your Car Tires Regularly

Your tires are constantly exposed different road conditions. Constant use can lead to significant wear and tear or sustained damage. Doing a daily visual check of your tires will give you a lot of information about the tire’s physical condition and level of inflation.

For a more thorough inspection, get the tire gauge out and check the PSI level without the guess work.

Tires are meant to last 3 to 5 years. You can extend that by being vigilant about caring for SUV tires properly. You can also call a professional to check your tires annually as part of your preventive maintenance.

Ensure Proper Tire Pressure

Driving with over or underinflated tires is dangerous. Too much and you’ll be bouncing all over the place. Too little and you could run grooves into the ply material and cause a blowout.

Add wet or icy weather and you’re in a commercial rocket just looking to collide with something or worse, someone.

Now tires lose pressure over time. This could be brought about by the weight of the entire vehicle, the age of the tires, condition, any present leaks or fluctuations in the temperature.

Get your tire gauge out and check your tire pressure at least once a week or month if you can’t do it on a daily basis.

Respect The Load Index

Just because you have a lot of space inside your SUV doesn’t mean you can cram everything in there and not have any negative effects on your tires. Check your owner’s manual if you’re still using your stock tires or check with the manufacturer if you have aftermarket tires on.

Just remember, overloading your tires can lead to overheating and the eventual destruction of the rubber composition.

Other negative effects of dismissing the load index is a ruined suspension, backed up transmission, and exhausted engine. It goes without saying that your fuel consumption and efficiency is also going to suffer some.

Slow Down

Want to extend your tires’ life? Drive slower. Driving at high speeds increases raises your tires’ temperature. This is an effect of kinetic energy. As your tire pounds faster and faster against the pavement, the heat in the affected surface rises.

Because you’re driving too fast, there isn’t enough time for the rubber to cool down before suffering another impact.

Rotate Your Tires Once Or Twice A Year

Rotate your tires every six months to even out the wear and tear on the treads. You can also do this every time you take your SUV in for an annual check or make it a part of your bi-annual caring for SUV tires routine.

You could also have this done when you take your SUV in for an oil change. That way, you’ll be hitting two birds with one stone.

 

Keeping Your Tires In Good Condition When You’re Away

There are times when you have to be away from your SUV for an extended period of time. Now, you’d think as long as you have it in your garage, everything will be okay. The thing is, you also have to prepare your SUV to be stored for that long to minimize damage incurred over time.

Place Your SUV On Jack Stands

The best thing you can do is place your SUV on jack stands as a way for caring for SUV tires while away. What this does is remove the unnecessary weight on your tires that could lead to deflation over time until the tire is fully flat.

Once flat, the entire weight of the vehicle is concentrated on the points where the rims meet the insides of the carcass which is relatively softer than the exterior of the tire. Over time, this will leave a permanent groove which compromises the entire tire’s composition making it weaker and prone to blowouts.

If it’s not possible for you to remove that excess weight from the tire when you leave it for an extended period of time, at least have someone move it to relieve the pressure at least once a month or at the very maximum, once every three months.

Keep Your SUV Out Of Direct Sunlight

Excessive sunlight damages your paint. That’s the first and biggest reason why you should always try to keep your SUV out of direct sunlight when you’re not using it. The UV rays from the sun does a number on the paint over time and induces premature aging.

Aside from your paint, the cabin also suffers despite the amount of tint you have all over your windows.

UV rays also have an effect on the rubber tires you have equipped on your SUV. As one way for caring for SUV tires, keep them out of the sunlight. You can place your SUV inside a garage (best method) or wrap it with a car cover (advisable only if you don’t have space in your garage).

The last course of action would be to keep it under a tent or a tree if you don’t have any other option available.

Remove Your Tires And Store Them Away

The best thing when caring for SUV tires is to remove them when you place your SUV on jack stands and store them properly.

Store Your Tires Properly
Store Your Tires Properly

Make sure your storage area has little to no temperature shifts. Clean and treat your tires before doing so to ensure optimal conditions while in storage.

The next section is going to discuss tire storage at length.

Tire Storage Tips

One of the best things to do when caring for SUV tires is to store them when they’re not in use. Now we’re talking about extended periods of time where you won’t be using your SUV at all or storing specialized tires fit for certain types of terrain.

This doesn’t mean removing your regular tires every time you get home and park your SUV in the garage for the night.

Your regular tires are fine as long as you still perform a regular daily, weekly or monthly check before heading out.

Storing your tires extend their life even beyond the prescribed half-life provided by the manufacturers. Since tires (all tires, even conventional ones) cost money, it is in your best interest to preserve them for as long as you possibly can before replacing them for new ones.

Mark Each Tire After Removing Them And Before Storage For Easy Replacement

Mark each tire as you remove them based on their position so you can place them back in the same order or rotate them if needed. An example is to mark the front right wheel with FR and the Front left wheel with FL. You can then mark the rear wheels with RR and RL respectively. You can mark the spare with S if you want to store that too.

Clean Your Tires

Before storing your tires, clean them up by hosing it down to remove excess dirt and caked mud. Use a tire brush to remove the more stubborn gunk and use soap and water to soften the rest. Make sure you rinse the tires completely to remove all of the soapy residue.

Wrap your tires

Wrap your tires in tire bags and remove as much air as you possibly can to prevent oxidation.

Store Your Tires In A Cool And Dry Environment

Store your tires in a cool and dry environment. Caring for SUV tires in a climate controlled environment is the best option to preserve their condition. Make sure you keep them off the ground to prevent deformation.

Try to avoid storing your tires in an area where temperatures fluctuate or acids can get sprayed onto it and damage it.

Storing tires mounted on rims

Storing tires that are still attached to rims is the easiest as it doesn’t require you to remove the carcass from the metal which requires a lot of work. Since the rim is going to be heavy, you will need to hang your tire up using hooks. Keeping it elevated takes the weight off the rubber carcass.

Mount the rim on the hook to prevent tire deformation.

As an alternative, you can still store mounted tires on the floor provided that you keep the sidewall facing down to alleviate the weight pressing down on it.

Storing Unmounted Tires

This is the most ideal way to store tires. Caring for SUV tires in this manner prevents deformation from any other external factor like the rim. This is a simple process and all you have to do is stack the tires.

For best results, wrap each one individually so that you don’t stain the sidewall.

You can also buy a tire rack and store your unmounted tires in this manner.

Avoid Harmful Products and Chemicals:

You can use tire protectants but make sure you read the label to ascertain that there are no harmful products and chemicals present. Stay away from petroleum based products as these can degrade the rubber carcass and lead to premature cracking.

Harmful products can include gasoline, oil and other solvents.

Storing your tires properly will preserve their life and help you save money in the long run.

How Do I Know When My Tires Need To Be Replaced?

In the end, nothing lasts forever.

This is especially true for tires. You will eventually have to replace them if they get too old, damaged or worn.

Now the question is, when? 

Your treads will eventually wear down the more you use them. How quickly that happens depends on a lot of factors. Driving habits, tire age, distance traveled, terrain, speed, braking, cornering, and load plays a part. Temperatures in your area, where you live and how well you perform preventive maintenance is also key to keeping those tires in tip-top shape.

With that, the most obvious time to replace your tires if you already see bald spots on it. Don’t let it get to this point though. If that happens to you, that means you weren’t as vigilant about caring for SUV tires as much as you wanted to believe you were.

Pay Attention To Your Tread Wear Bars

Tires have at least six tread wear bars located in the major tread grooves all over the circumference of the tire. These are raised smooth narrow rubber strips that are around 1.6mm in height. When these are worn down flush against the other normal grooves, it’s time to replace your tire.

When You Notice An Uneven Or Unusual Wear Pattern

Uneven wear pattern is a clear indicator of a vehicular misalignment or suspension issue. This means your SUV is resting heavily on one or two of the tires more than the rest. You will need to have your car checked in for that to find out where the issue is to take care of that issue.

It can also mean there’s a mechanical issue wherein one or two of the tires turn faster than the others.

When There’s Bulging Or Blistering On The Sidewall

Bulging or blistering on the sidewall will require instant replacement as this means your inner ply is already compromised. You can have this checked by a professional but your expected reply would be to replace the tires as soon as you can.

If Your Always Experiencing Low Tire Pressure

Tires that refuse to retain tire pressure and is constantly underinflated need to be checked by a professional. This is also true for tires that have at one point or another been driven flat as grooves within the carcass may have already formed compromising the integrity of the entire wheel.

If There’s A Sudden Ride Disturbance Or Excessive Vibration

This is another clear indicator of massive tire damage and should be checked by a professional or get an immediate replacement for safety.

Replacing Tires

Before replacing your tires, make sure you consult your vehicle owner’s manual and follow the recommendations from the manufacturer as to what tires are appropriate for your SUV. Always remember that slapping on aftermarket tires will significantly change the way your SUV drives.

Take note that tire sizes and widths affect your mileage, braking ability, and rate of acceleration.

Make Sure Your Tires Pass The Coin Test

Use a penny to check your tire treads. Turn the penny upside down and stick it in between the treads, if the top of honest Abe’s head is still visible, then it’s time for some new tires. Do this on all four tires.

Don’t Wait For Your Tires To Die Out On You Before Replacing Them

Most people are guilty of doing this. This is a very dangerous thing to do.  Driving your tires past their service life is extremely dangerous. Driving with prematurely bald tires is just the same thing.

You may be lead to believe that you’re saving money by getting every last bit of usefulness out of it but think of the costs of repairs should you get in an accident. Think of your safety before thinking of saving money the wrong way.

Tires are expensive and not particularly fun to buy; however, driving on your tires past their useful life puts you and your family in danger.

Replace All Four At Once

This may seem like a very expensive recommendation but replacing all four at once gives you brand new tires that are in perfect working condition. These will also last you a long time so it’s a good investment.

With four new tires on your SUV, you can ensure optimum vehicle performance and handling as well as traction and road grip when braking.

If replacing only two, make sure you get tires of the same construction as your current tires and match it with the ones with the deepest tread to avoid oversteer situations.

If you only replace one tire, make sure you pair it with the rearmost tire with the deepest tread.

Once again, get four at one time for best results. Add a new spare tire too if you have the extra funds.

Always Install New Tires On The Rear Axle

When getting new tires, always install from the rear first to the front. If you already have tires on the rear, move them up front. Doing so will help you maximize the traction and road grip these new tires provide. This is very important especially if you live in an area with wet road conditions.

Mixing And Matching Rules

Do not mix sizes.

Never mix radial and bias-ply constructions.

Do not mix tread patterns such as all-season and all-terrain.

In fact, don’t mix and match at all. This can have a negative impact on your car’s handling and cause unusual wear and tear.

Check The Speed Rating

You also need to ensure that the speed ratings match for the tires you’re getting. Refer to your vehicle owner’s manual to see what your recommended speed ratings are before buying a new set of tires. You can also just check on the speed rating in the tires you already have and make that the basis for your purchase.

Mind The Load Carrying Capacity

Make sure your replacement tires have the same load carrying capacity as the rest.

In Conclusion:

Knowing your tires from its basic construction to the optimal conditions you can drive it in will help you a lot in preserving their service life. Taking the necessary steps in caring for SUV tires will help you save money in the long run.

And not only that, you can save yourself from all the trouble of having to deal with a sudden flat tire while driving which can cause unwanted things from happening.

So be safe and put a lot of importance in caring for SUV tires at all times.

Related Questions:

What Happens If I Continue Using Bald Tires?

You’re looking at an eventual crash. Bald tires don’t have the treads that provide road traction. This may not seem to be a problem as your car can still run on bald tires but braking is a different matter. With no road grip, braking can cause you to slide forward before coming to a complete stop.

Can’t I Just Get My Tires Retread To Save Money?

You’ll save more money in the long run by getting new tires. This is a common practice done by big trucks. Retreads are often done to non-essential tires to make it safer for these big vehicles. On SUVs, all tires are essential. That new layer will eventually tear off after a certain period of time.

What Else Can You Do With Old Tires?

Don’t throw your old tires away. You can repurpose old tires by turning them into recreational or athletic equipment. Or turn it into a swing or with a couple of old tires, create a “Tire Run” obstacle. You can also use old tires for walls or gardening by filling them with earth and stacking.

The Auto Sunday is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

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The Auto Sunday is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.