Tire FAQ

How do I know if I need new tires?

Signs that your tires are wearing out or may need replacing include uneven wear, a decline in vehicle handling performance or ride, poor gas mileage, vibration, reduced brake responsiveness, tread that looks slick, and a tire that’s losing air faster than it should. Just stop by any Les Schwab for an honest opinion on the condition of your tires.

How often should I replace my tires?

It depends on many factors, including your driving style, the mileage rating for the tires, conditions on the roads you typically travel, weather, and more. Bring your vehicle in anytime for a free visual inspection on how your tires are doing.

What are the parts of a tire?

tire-guide.png Key components of a tire

Having a basic understanding of tire parts and how your tires are constructed can be useful when it comes time to buy tires. Here are the key components.


What do the numbers on the Sidewall mean?

sidewall How to read tire sidewall information

It’s a good idea to understand what the codes and numbers on the side of your tire mean. Click below to learn about tire sidewall terms.

Tire Videos

Play Tire chains, not something most people like dealing with, but when you need them, they can be an absolute lifesaver. In the past, putting on tire chains could be a hassle, but with the advent of Quick Fit™ chains from Les Schwab, getting the traction you need for tough winter driving is almost as easy as tying your shoes. Got a moment? Let us show you how. Step 1: Unroll the chain, lay it on the ground, untangle, and ensure the hook ends are facing the ground. Push the yellow end of the cable and chains behind the tire, grabbing it with your other hand. Pull the two ends over the top of the tire and fasten them together. 2: Grab the chains on either side of the tire and pull them together toward the center of the tire. Hook the red fastener into one of the links. Make the fit as snug as you can. Having extra links is okay. Now, push the cable to the back of the tire, positioning the chains loosely over the tread. 3: At the bottom of the tire is a red fastener and draw chain. Pull them both toward you so there’s no slack. Feed the red draw chain around the opening on the fastener. Pull it tight, and lock a link into the notch on the fastener. 4: Feed the rubber end of the draw chain through the red rings. Stretch it tightly, and hook it onto a link in the side chain. You may not be able to use both red rings depending on your tire size, but you should try to whenever possible. The most important thing is that the chain stays tight against the tire tread. To get the best fit, drive the vehicle forward at least 15 feet. Then stop and re-tighten the draw chain on each tire. That’s it, you’re done. Here are a few additional tips for installing chains. Always make sure you’re carrying the proper chain size for your tires. Les Schwab will ensure you get the right size for your vehicle, you just need to make sure the chains we provide you are the chains you carry in your vehicle. This is especially important if you have multiple vehicles. You may even want to label your chains with the make and model of the car they’re sized for. Now that you’ve seen this video demonstration, take the time to put your own chains on in the relative ease of your garage or driveway. That way, you’ll be able to confidently install them in any condition while on the road. When you see it’s time to put your chains on, find a spot where you could pull safely off the road to install them. Tire chains can break, especially if you use them on bare pavement. If that happens, stop as soon as it’s safe to do so, and secure the broken chain to avoid damaging your vehicle. Try using a piece of wire or a short bungee cord to tie down the loose links until you can bring it to a Les Schwab Tire Center for repair. With proper use and care, your tire chains can last for many seasons of winter driving. Here’s how you can extend the life of your chains. When driving with your chains, avoid going over 30 miles per hour. When braking, try to avoid locking the wheels. When starting, try not to spin your wheels from a full stop. Chains are designed to get you through packed snow and slush, so you should try to avoid driving with your chains on bare pavement. And when parking, give yourself a little extra room so you don’t break your chains by hitting the curb. With the right fit and proper installation, tire chains can help you navigate the nastiest winter roads, so you can get where you’re going safe and sound. A Les Schwab exclusive is our Tire Chain Return Policy. If you don’t use our chains, return them in the spring for a full cash refund. Wanna learn more? Just ask one of our helpful service professionals. Thanks for watching, and thanks again for making Les Schwab your tire store.
How do I install tire chains?
Play Tire siping, what is it and why would anyone want it? We’ll explain to you what tire siping is, what it does, and why like thousands of others in Les Schwab country you might think about having your tires siped as well. Before we talk about siping we should first talk about tire traction. A tire’s traction comes from a series of rubber grooves, channels, and tread blocks or patches. The combination of these tread blocks and grooves, allow a tire to grip both dry and wet roads depending on its design and intended use. A tire intended for dry pavement use utilizes more tread patches and fewer grooves and channels. A tire designed for wet weather or all season driving utilizes more channels and grooves to help dissipate water from between the road and the tire. On wet or icy roads it’s critically important for a tire to be able to penetrate the liquid on the surface, and make solid contact with the road itself. Otherwise, loss of traction and control ensues, and hydroplaning becomes a problem. In wet weather, the channels in a tire’s tread direct large volumes of water away from the surface of your tire, while grooves and sipes grab the surface of the road with their rubber edges, like hundreds of tiny rubber teeth. Siping adds bite to your tires. Merely every all season winter traction and wet weather tire has grooves and sipes that provide important traction edges that help to bite the road. Safety siping from Les Schwab multiplies the number of traction edges without damaging the important structural components of your tire. These additional traction edges dramatically increase the stopping and starting power of your car, truck, or SUV, especially in wet weather driving conditions. An independent study by the US National Safety Council, found that siping dramatically improved stopping distances, breakaway traction, and rolling traction on vehicles of all kinds. And another independent study by Mobility Research, found that an average passenger car stops 37 percent quicker with siped tires over the same car with non-siped tires. Even more impressive, that same study found that larger commercial vehicles with siped tires decreased stopping distances by a whopping 57 percent. So, you might ask, “If siping’s so great, why aren’t all tires made siped right at the factory?” Well, tires designed for snow and ice often do come with additional sipes, but for most all season tires, siping is too costly and time-consuming to do on a massive scale, especially done the way we do it here, without removing any of the tires rubber. Additionally, even though siping improves traction in almost any driving condition, the benefits of siping are even greater in regions that experience significant wet weather driving conditions. So how do we sipe your tires? Our siping machines are lubricated, razor-sharp blades that don’t remove any rubber from your tire, but cut hundreds of slits in the tread blocks. These slits are virtually invisible to your eye unless the tire flexes like it does when it needs that extra grip on the road. But, is it safe? Siping is safe for your tires. The patented spiral cut technology of our machines, leave your tread strong, so the existing edges and tread blocks can do what they were designed to do. Additional benefits to siping include, increased tire life and a smoother ride too. That’s right, siping can actually increase the life of your tire by dissipating heat caused by friction. Heat is a natural enemy to rubber, and can cause premature wear or abnormal wear patterns. Siping provides a natural cooling effect by opening up more surface area for heat to escape. And the increased flexibility on your tires, help make for a smoother ride on the road. Around here, there’s no telling what road conditions you’ll come across. With siped tires from Les Schwab you can count on better starting, stopping, and increased control no matter what Mother Nature throws your way. Les Schwab can sipe your new or existing tires for you while you wait. It’s a quick and affordable process that can make all the difference when you need it most. Wanna learn more, ask a Les Schwab technician. Thanks for watching, and thanks again for making Les Schwab your tire store.
Get better traction with tire siping
Play Interested in saving money while staying safe on the road? Take a quick look at your tire pressure. Low pressure can be an expensive proposition, costing you hundreds of dollars a year in lost fuel economy and prematurely worn tires. Add to that, decreased handling and an increased risk in tire failure, and it’s easy to understand why maintaining proper tire pressure is so important. Tires naturally lose 1 to 2 pounds of pressure a month and cool temperatures cause even more pressure loss. So it’s important to check your vehicle’s tire pressure regularly. We recommend you check your tire pressure at least once a month. The easiest way to check your tire pressure; drive in to your nearest Les Schwab Tire Center, where we not only check it for you, but also adjust it if necessary. Free of charge. If you can’t make it to a Les Schwab, or prefer to personally check your own tire pressure, here’s how you go about it with an air pressure gauge that can be found at most any auto parts store. First, look in the owner’s manual or on the inside placard of the drivers side door for the standard cold tire inflation pressure. This number is the PSI or pounds per square inch you will inflate your tires to, as suggested by the cars manufacturer. Next, unscrew the cap from the valve stem on the tire. Now, press the air pressure gauge onto the valve stem and record the reading given. If there’s a hissing sound, try re-seating the gauge for a tighter fit and more accurate reading. Note that if the reading on all four tires and your spare is the same as the manuals specifications, you’re done. If any of the tires have inadequate pressure add air until they’re properly filled. Make sure you put in the correct amount by rechecking the pressure in each tire after refilling. Finally, replace the valve stem cap to protect the valve mechanism from dirt and moisture. Have any questions about tire pressure? One of our experts will be happy to help. Thanks for watching and thanks again for making Les Schwab your tire store.
How do I check my tire’s air pressure?
Play Ever wonder when to replace your worn car tires? Barring any irregular or unsafe wear patterns, the usual life of a tire is most often determined by the amount of tread left on it. The primary function of tread is to divert water from beneath the tire, to improve traction, and avoid hydroplaning on wet roads. Tires become unsafe when they’re worn. Specifically once the tread is down to one sixteenth of an inch. Many people prefer to replace their tires even sooner, especially when driving in adverse weather conditions. All tires sold in the United States today, have what are called tread wear bars. These are small raised bars of rubber in the grooves of your tire’s tread. Look at the tread pattern and you’ll see these bars running between the tread blocks. As your tires wear, these bars will become flush with the tire’s tread. When this happens, it’s time to replace the tires. An easy way to check the tread on your tires is to do the penny test. Take a penny and place Lincoln’s head in one of the grooves of the tire tread. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head on the copper above it, it’s time to replace the tire. These are unsafe to drive on. If the penny is inserted enough that the tire tread is at least as deep as Lincoln’s forehead, your tires are generally considered safe, and do not need replacing. Make sure when you’re administering the penny test that you check all four of your tires. While you’re at it, make note of any irregular tread wear. This could indicate a wheel misalignment, and need for tire rotation or both. Talk to one of our tire experts if you think your tires are wearing unevenly. Thanks for watching, and thanks again for making Les Schwab your tire store.
How do I know when I need new tires?
How do I install tire chains?
Get better traction with tire siping
How do I check my tire’s air pressure?
How do I know when I need new tires?
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