Importance of Routine Tire Care
Tires can usually be overlooked until there is an issue, like a flat tire, but your tires play a huge behind-the-scenes role in the handling, braking, safety, and performance of your MINI. Remember this is the only part of your MINI in contact with the road. Better quality tires equal increased safety and performance. It is important to have routine tire care, such as tire pressure checks, alignment checks, tire rotations, and tire replacements. By having routine tire services performed, such as rotations, you decrease the wear and increase tire life. Otto’s MINI Service Department wants to ensure your MINI is ready for motoring. For this reason, we are offering complimentary tire checks on your MINI tires, including tread depth, tire pressure, and tire sidewalls when you schedule a service appointment with us!
Unimpeded Motoring: Tire Factors to Consider
As mentioned above, well kept tires ensure quality handling, traction, braking, and stability from your MINI, because it is the only part of your MINI in contact with the road. When looking to make MINI journeys safer for you and your passengers, there are four primary road-related factors that affect the motoring of your MINI — tire wear, type of tire, tire age, and external conditions. The first three listed, wear, type, and age, are directly related to the tire you equip on your MINI. Each of these three factors are listed below with more detail.
Tire Wear — Putting it simply, tire condition, especially tread wear, impacts a tire’s handling and stopping effectiveness, which will impact your safety. Tread wear plays a major factor when traveling on wet roads. According to ABC News, “the lower the tread depth, the more likely a car will hydroplane”. The mark for purchasing new tires has always been when tread depth reached 2/32 inches. As a way to help everyday motorers estimate the point tread is worn and new tires are needed, the penny test was implemented. Recent AAA studies have shown a tire’s stopping effectiveness starts to deteriorate at a tread depth of 4/32 inches. This current information has caused the penny test to be updated to the quarter test when estimating tire health.
The quarter test is the same basic principle as the penny test. Insert the coin in-between the tire grooves upside down, so the top of Washington’s head is pointing towards the tread groove. As long as a part of Washington’s head is covered by tread, you have at least 4/32 inches of tread remaining.
The graphic to the left shows the impact of worn or bald tires on stopping distance. Worn tires can add almost 100 feet to the stopping distance of your MINI. Bald tires even more dangerously inhibit the stopping distance of your MINI by adding almost 184 additional feet as compared to new tires.
Tire Type — The most general tire type you can purchase are all-season tires, which provide a balanced performance throughout the seasons. Other tire types are classified by season, which are based on your MINI’s needs for motoring in specific weather during that time of year. For instance, summer tires were made for motoring on either exceedingly hot pavement or immensely wet surfaces. Unlike all-season tires, summer tires boast maximum traction for braking, accelerating, and cornering on either hot dry roads or wet roads, which represent the extreme driving conditions of summer.
The all-season tires are available for year-round motoring, while seasonal tires are designed with advantages for motoring in the weather of a specific season. For that reason, we do not recommend driving a seasonal tire all year round. A summer tire would not be effective during winter driving. While the all-season can be used year-round, their short-fall is not having some of the specific weather benefits that seasonal tires offer. The graphic above shows the stopping distance of various tire types in different conditions. When running this test, Consumer Reports performed all stops designated from a speed of 62 miles per hour.
Tire Age — Tires, even when not in use, age out after a period of time that is specified by manufacturers. Tires that age out should be replaced, even if they’re not contacting driving surfaces. In order to identify the age of your tire, refer to the DOT stamping on the tire’s sidewall. The end of that DOT stamping will include a 4-digit number, which represents the date code for when the tire was manufactured. The first two numbers represent the week and the last two numbers communicate the year. If your MINI’s tire has the code 1219, that code would communicate the MINI tire was manufactured the 12th week of 2019. Please keep in mind, a tire might age more rapidly in extreme warmth, when driven on at an improper inflation level, or if driven on at sustained high speeds.
MINI Approved Tires
Top-of-the-line makes and models of cars have tires designed to work best with that vehicle. In order to guarantee the high performance, safe driving, and razor-sharp handling that MINI prides itself on, we have MINI Approved Tires. In fact, MINI has tires designated to specifically match the needs of each MINI model.
You may be asking, why should you purchase MINI Approved Tires? Your question will be answered when you drive your vehicle with MINI approved tires. You will know the difference… Solid acceleration, stable cornering, and smooth braking that can keep up with your MINI’s nimble power and your motoring demands.