Self Help Tips to Improve Vehicle Performance & save you time and money!

How to inspect a tire with a penny​​?

Once every month, or before you embark upon long road trips, check your tires for wear and damage problems. One easy way to check for wear is by using the penny test. All you have to do is grab your spare change and follow 3 easy steps. ​
1. Take a penny and hold Abe's body between your thumb and forefinger.
2. Select a point on your tire where tread appears the lowest and place Lincoln's head into one of the grooves.
3. If any part of Abe Lincoln's head is covered by the tread, you're driving with the legal and safe amount of tread. If your tread gets below that (approximately 2/32 of an inch), your car's ability to grip the road in adverse conditions is greatly reduced.

For more serious problems, we’ve created an easy-to-use online tool below to help you identify issues and learn how to fix them. ​
Misalignment of the front or rear wheels can cause rapid or uneven wear. Front-wheel-drive vehicles and those with independent rear suspension require alignment of all four wheels, instead of two. Getting your alignment checked as specified in your vehicle's owner's manual is the recommended way to prolong tire life. ​
Sometimes irregular tire wear can be corrected by rotating your tires. Consult your vehicle's owner's manual or visit A&J Exhaust and Tire Center LLC to find the appropriate rotation pattern for your vehicle. If your tires show uneven wear, ask our professional tire experts to check for and correct any misalignment, imbalance, or other mechanical problem involved before rotation. A tire's tread directly affects how it grips the road, so it's important to regularly inspect it visually for signs of uneven wear. These signs can include high or low areas, or unusually smooth ones. ​
Check the indicator bar located at the bottoms of the tread grooves in several locations around the tire. When a tire is so worn that these bars become visibly flush with the adjacent tread ribs, replace it. ​
PLEASE NOTE: To avoid potential problems, have your tires checked next time your in for service for common wear patterns:
  • Wear on both edges: UNDERINFLATION
  • Underinflation increases the treadwear on a tire's outside edges and generates excessive heat, reducing the tire's toughness.
  • Soft tires also increase rolling resistance, reducing fuel economy.
  • Wear in center: OVERINFLATION
  • Overinflation increases wear on the center tread.
  • Cups or dips in the tread: WORN PARTS
  • Cupping or dipping is most common on front tires, but rear tires can cup as well.
  • Sawtooth edges: MISALIGNMENT
  • Misalignment causes erratic scrubbing against the road giving the tire's edges a sawtooth-like appearance.

Over steering/Under steering Tips

These terms may be a bit technical, but bear with us. It’s easy and important. When you take turns​ in both wet and dry conditions (but especially wet), you can easily lose control by over steering or under steering.

Note: A “cool” form of over steering is called drifting. It’s a technique where the driver intentionally over steers, but maintains control around a corner at high speeds. Drifting competitions are held around the world.

Lawyer’s Note: We does not condone drifting—unless under the supervision of a professional and within a safe, controlled, professional course or environment.

Winter Driving Tips

You don’t have to live in Iceland to benefit from winter tires. If you frequently encounter snow or ice, or if the temperature is consistently below 44 degrees, your tires need the extra grip and turning capabilities that only winter tires can deliver. Even if you have 4-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, you still need winter tires on the front and back to conquer the elements and stay safe!
  • Driving safely in winter conditions requires knowledge, skill and four winter tires with proper tread.
  • Drive with two hands. Always.
  • Before turning, slow down while traveling in a straight line.
  • While turning, maintain a slow and regular speed. If you accelerate suddenly, your tires could lose traction.
  • While turning, don’t make any sudden steering wheel movements.
  • Only brake in a straight line before the turn, and do so gradually. Do not brake during the turn.
  • Increase your following distance from other cars significantly.
  • If your wheels lock and slide, release the brake pedal to recover traction, then slowly brake again.
  • Try to avoid changing lanes in slush. It’s safer to change lanes when slush is not on the road.
  • If using chains, check for proper clearance between the tire and the vehicle, as well as the clearance between dual tires.

Wet Driving Tips

Most drivers don’t respect wet driving as much as winter driving. But they have many dangerous similarities. Slow down. If more drivers followed this tip in the rain, accidents would dramatically decrease. Wet weather doesn’t receive the same attention as winter weather driving, but it should. Wet roads present similar dangers—less grip and longer stopping distance, for example:
  • Make sure your tires offer the proper amount of tread.
  • Own tires that offer maximum grip in wet weather
  • Drive with two hands. Always.
  • Slow down before turning, and maintain a consistent speed throughout the turn.
  • While turning, don’t make any sudden steering wheel movements.
  • Only brake in a straight line before the turn, and do so gradually. Do not brake during the turn.
  • Increase your following distance from other cars significantly.
  • If hydroplaning, do not accelerate or brake suddenly. Keep your foot lightly on the gas and steer the car forwards until your tires regain traction.

Tires have been known to lose up to 1psi (pounds per square inch) every month, so check all tires, including your spare, once a month (or before a long trip). It’s easy.! Here’s how:

1. Purchase a trusted pressure gauge.
2. Check your tires “cold” – before you’ve driven or at least three hours after you’ve driven.
3. Insert pressure gauge into the valve stem on your tire. (The gauge will “pop” out and show a measured number. When you hear a “pssst” sound, that’s air escaping the tire. The escaping air shouldn’t affect pressure substantially, unless you hold down the air pressure gauge too long.)
4. Compare the measured psi to the psi found on the sticker inside the driver’s door of your vehicle or in owner’s manual. DO NOT compare to the psi on your tire’s sidewall. ​
5. If your psi is above the number, let air out until it matches. If below, add air (or have a A&J Exhaust and Tire Center help you) until it reaches the proper number.

Nitrogen Versus Compressed Air

Most tires are filled with compressed air. But some tire retailers have started to put nitrogen into their customers’ tires. (Nitrogen is simply dry air with the oxygen removed. Air contains nearly 79% nitrogen already.) Because nitrogen replaces oxygen, less air can escape your tires, and your inflation pressure stays higher longer. Unfortunately, there are other possible sources of leaks (tire/rim interface, valve, valve/rim interface and the wheel) which prevent the guarantee of pressure maintenance for individuals using air or nitrogen inflation. Nitrogen and compressed air CAN be mixed, if needed. Tires manufactured such as Michelin Tires are designed to deliver their expected performance when inflated with air or nitrogen, as long as the user respects the pressures recommended by the vehicle manufacturer on the vehicle’s placard or by the tire manufacturer.