Hey folks, Cooley back again with another one of your questions about high-tech cars and modern driving.
This one comes in from Kevin B in Dallas, who says, our new 2018 Ford Explorer Limited needed new tires with only 16,300 miles on the odometer.
upon looking online it seems like it is a very prevalent problem with the original Hankook Noble S1 tires.
He asks why wouldnt Hankook release a letter to owners.
They had a cookie cutter response to my BBB complaint.
Yeah I bet they did, because here is the unfortunate part about tire wear, Kevin, A defective tire and a tire that is crummy and wears out soon are not at all the same thing.
And the warranties go after one but not the other.
Tire wear is often and SOL situation.
I consulted with out go-to experts at Dependable Tire and Brake in San Rafael, California And they actually finished my sentence when I was reading your email.
They said, an Explorer with Hankook S1s, right?
It's a known issue, as you documented.
but that doesn't mean that there's a defect that anyone needed to notify you about.
As I'm sure you've already noticed, your Ford new car warranty does talk about tires, very generally and in defect language.
That Ford warranty then also kicks it over to the Hankook tire warranty which you also got with your car.
And it also speaks to defects not mileage.
You could arguably get 100 miles a set of tires from the factory and there's nothing actionable.
Now that's an extreme case but you know what I mean.
It has long been practiced in the car industry to put crummy tires on new cars Just do a search on Ebay for tires with the term take off included in there, and you'll find tons of listings.
A take off is when someone buys a brand new car, drives it off the lot, and almost immediately goes to the tire store, and says get these crummy tires off of here.
And they aren't even worn yet.
They may change the wheels, too, at the same time.
But this shows you how widespread the awareness is that new car tires Are not usually a thing of beauty, unless we're talking about a premium, sports or performance vehicle.
So let's do a quick tutorial for you and everyone who drives a car Car on the best ways to get the most out of your tires.
Crappy OEM or premium ones that you bought.
First of all, there's rotation.
You mentioned this in another part of your email.
And yes, had you done this, You might have received another, I don't know, 1,000 2,000 more miles out of your tires.
Rotation means not tires rolling, it obviously means rotating them from front to back of the car, typically.
Because the front of a car puts much more pressure on tires than the rear.
You've got the weight of the engine, you've got often the drive wheels are in front, you've got the steering.
It's a hard job in front.
You want to give those tires a break once in a while Out in the back.
Follow the pattern of your owner's manual to decide when and where to move those tires or use a reputable tire shop.
The next factor is curb weight, weight, of your vehicle.
You can't do much about It's about this, the car you own is the car you own.
Your Expo though is a pretty heavy car, 4,500 hundred pounds or so.
Curve weight all of the things being equal affects all tires more or less equally because most car today have a fairly even front to rear weight balance.
Some cars will vary more then others but it's not like it's 80/20 The next factor is torque.
Torque is the twisting power applied to the wheels by the engine, transmission and drive line.
Your expo, depending on the engine you've got, has up to 350 pound feet of torque, that's quite a bit in average car terms.
And grip is not perfect on a tire, so as it's being turned to accelerate, it's gonna have some slip.
That is a rubbing effect Tearing off more rubber.
Then there's braking that kind of wears a tire the other direction of torque.
Today's cars have incredible braking systems and as we noted your car is heavy.
Therefore when you brake it's putting a lot of stress on the tires and here's one that mostly goes to the front.
The average car does about 70% of its brake work on its front tires.
So that's another reason why you need to rotate.
Now within vehicle suspensions you've got a whole myriad of factors, I can't begin to address them, every car's got a different suspension geometry, and that affects how the tire moves in space as the vehicle encounters different road conditions.
It's kinda unknowable, so don't sweat that Now, while you can affect the suspension design of your car, you can certainly keep the alignment right.
Here's of the two settings that matter most there.
First of all is called tow, tow in.
Let's say this is the car coming toward and the outside of the car is here.
The car's tires are towed in too much like this They're kind of pointed in at the front.
That means as the wheel goes down the road, yes it is rolling down the roll, but it's also kind of scrubbing down the road like this.
See what I mean?
As a result, you're grinding down the pavement while you're also rolling down it.
[UNKNOWN] Not good for tire wear.
The other one is camber.
Camber is sort of this.
This is negative camber that you see most often when the tire is kind of sticking out at the bottom or squatting a little bit.
This can result in a lot more tire wear on the inside of the tread which is getting all of the load.
While the outside maybe pretty young still.
You end up throwing away a tire that looks great from the street.
Until you kick it out and look inside and go, I'm showing cords, I'm bald on the inner part.
The next factor is terrain, and here is where a lot of folks say, "Well, I don't drive off road, how does this affect me?" I'm talking urban terrain.
Kevin, if you live and mostly drive in downtown Dallas You might be harder on your tires than someone who lives out, say, in Johnson City with open roads everywhere.
Urban drivers do a lot more turning, a lot more stopping, a lot more accelerating, and a lot more hitting curbs as they park here and there.
So that can be a beating on tires.
Where the open country driver may get way more miles cuz they basically set it and forget it And go down the long straight road.
Closely related to where you drive is how you drive.
Driving style sounds like a myth, but it's a big deal with tire ware.
The person who's hitting the brakes hard, stabbing the accelerator, diving into turns to see how well their car will handle the corner it's killing their tread life.
Go ahead and do it if that's how you wanna drive, but know that you're gonna pay for it by scrubbing off rubber needlessly all the time.
Okay, then there's tire pressure.
I know you're sick and tired of being told to check your tire pressure, and you still don't do it.
But if you want your tires to wear a long time, you need to do it.
If your tire is underinflated, the middle gets pressed in as it goes down the road and the sides of the tread wear excessively fast.
If your tire is overinflated, which, frankly, is much less frequent, the middle of the tire tends to crown out and it wears fast while the shoulders Wear slowly.
And the whole thing ends up being unsatisfying either way, cuz you're throwing away a tire that has a lot of good tread somewhere but not good tread everywhere.
Now, if you've got a car sold new in the US since 2008, it's got TPMS, a tire pressure monitoring system.
You've seen the idiot light.
You can't really rely on that, though.
Because per the law, that only has to come on if the tire is 25% under-inflated or moreso.
You wanna stay at a tighter tolerance than that.
So, put a tickler in your calendar to remind yourself every couple of months to hunker down and go check all the tires on all the cars.
It's a drag but it's worth it in the long run.
Get yourself a good tire pressure gauger.
In this case it's an inflation shuck and gauge combined that goes to a good compressor, a real compressor.
Not one of those silly ones you plug into your 12 volt outlet in your car.
Those are just for survival.
Another interesting factor in tire wear is wheel size.
Let me tell you what I mean The trend over the last number of decades is to go to a bigger diameter wheel with a lower profile or shorter tire.
Profile is the ratio of side wall height to tread width.
As we go to these shorter lower tires, we end up with tires that tend to be made of a more aggressive sticky tread compound.
It's just kind of complimenting They're a low profile, sporty nature, but that may limit your choices.
You may not have the ability to guy, honestly, a hard-wearing, kind of slippery tire if you want it.
It may not be made in your size.
You end up buying a tire that's got a softer, stickier compound that doesn't wear as long just because your wheel size Predicates that.
Tires specs, your tire are actually tells you how long it's gonna last, but not really.
See this thing here where it says threadwear, it's a number, usually something in a 100 this one's is 500.
That means, this tire should last five times longer than this thing manufactures line that are 100 if they made such a thing.
But that doesn't tell you how many miles it'll get, just a relative number.
And then you have traction and temperature.
This tells you how good of traction rating it has, up to a double-A.
Or temperature, how well it handles wide changes in temperature and maintains performance.
You can go as high as an A there.
And there's a lot to deal with here some of this definitely your responsibility.
Driving style and tire pressure a lot of the rest you need to align a good trustworthy tire shop.
Trust me, the minute they see you walk in and see what kind of car you're driving, they know what tire you need.
You are not the first person to arrive wishing you had better tires on that make year model of car.
Keep those emails coming, I'm here to answer your questions about high tech cars and modern driving.