Cheap Tires may not be the answer

If you’re reading this article you probably have some interest in performance driving and of course, want to be safe on the roads. You probably also own a vehicle of some type, and it may have tires that are starting to need replacement. You see an ad for Sumthinother Tires for $49.95 and think great.


Hold on just a moment.


Think about the very small patches of rubber that support your vehicle, a typical small car or SUV has attire patch sitting on the road that is less than 5 cm by 15 cm totaling 300 sq cm or about 25 sq inches (yes, my math is wrong but you get the picture) for 4 wheels. Those 300 sq cm are what contacts the road for your 1700 kg vehicle. Choose wisely.


Where do you drive, when do you drive, and how often, in the rain, in the snow, below 5 degrees C? These should all be part of your decision.


If you only drive in the summer when the sun shines, then yes, a set of summer tires is best for you.


If it rains when you drive but is warm, choose a set with proper trad design for wet weather (Vancouver) performance.


If you drive all year round in rain and light snow (Richmond) all seasons will work just fine.


If you drive in snow (skiing at Whistler) or live on top in North Vancouver, then definitely a set of winter (think that snowflake on the side of the tire) is best for you in winter.


Our recommendation is to buy the best you can afford, check out the recommendations at someplace like KalTire or 1010tires, or Tirerack online and yes if you drive in both seasons get a set of good summer tires and a good set of winter tires on extra rims.


The driveability of your vehicle will amaze you when the tires you have are right for you. Cheap is not the answer.


Come and see what first-class tires on a first-class car can do with you behind the wheel, contact www.gtrace.ca for your driving experience.


Four-way stops or what to do when the power goes out and traffic lights are not working.


Having been down east when the latest storm came through in Ontario, I saw the absolute lack of knowledge on what to do at an intersection when the lights are out.


People were shoving their way through, some were not even paying attention, and one came blasting through in the next lane to me. They were doing about 60kph and just barely missed someone turning left across. It was their turn, not the blaster through.


So, what are the common road rules?


This graph shows what has been published.


So, the next time you get to an intersection and the lights are out, please defer to others who are there then one after another courteously.


Safe driving and for a fun day driving contact www.gtrace.ca and come out to the track for your driving experience.


Turn signals What???????


From personal observations every day, a lot of people have absolutely no idea what that black lever that juts out from the steering column on the left-hand side just below the steering wheel is really for.


Yes, you can hang your heavy Gucci watch on it and not use it because the watch will fall off, or even better just flip it up or down and forget it, that annoying click, click-click can be overcome just by turning up the radio.


However, if you are really interested in helping other people understand what you may want to do, you can use it to signal without opening your window in rainy weather to give a finger to the person who just honked at you as you made that lane change over three lanes to get to the exit you forgot about.


So how is it supposed to work????


It’s called a turn signal, it's connected to small bright lights at each corner of your car / SUV/ Semi Tractor trailer and it is supposed to be used to signal WHAT YOU ARE GOING TO DO!


It is of no use if you flip it on as you exit the highway and proceed down the off-ramp, it is no use if your hand accidentally catches it as you turn the steering wheel. That’s too late.


Turn signals are for use as you are planning your turn, let the drivers in front and behind and beside you know what you are planning or would like to do. Give them a 5-second warning, the fender you save may be yours.


I see people all the time sitting in a lane of traffic, with no signal on, but they are trying to get over to the next lane. I cannot read your mind; signal you want to come over and I may even allow you in in front of me.


Turn signals, for telling me what you are going to do, not what you have done. Use them correctly and everyone will be happier.


Want to have fun in a controlled location, come to www.gtrace.ca, come and enjoy a place where turn signals are only used occasionally but correctly.


Gasoline is $2.50 a liter Ouch! What can I do to save some fuel costs???


We are all trying to figure out how to cut our expenses these days with gas a $2.20 and diesel at $2.50 a liter. Some simple tips to help.


The best one of course is to stop driving and with many people working from home a lot of you have done that but for many of us that is not practical. I appreciate this tip from those who have access to bicycle transport or even just walk to the corner grocery and carry home your backpack worth of food today and tomorrow. Many of us cannot do that.


So, car tips to manage your costs.

  1. Spend some money on maintenance to save money at the pump. A tune-up on that 212,000 km SUVmobile for new sparkplugs, a small container of fuel system cleaner, an oil change, and an oil filter well before 20,000 km makes your engine so much happier. Looking at the air filter, when was it changed, you do know that an engine has an air filter, right?

  2. Tires, I know are round and black (most of the time). Do you know that keeping them inflated to the proper pressure allows your car to roll along smoothly and save fuel, under-inflated tires cost you money?

  3. That AC. Did you know that every time the AC kicks in it costs you gas mileage? So set the temperature a few degrees higher, have the AC cycle less often, and save fuel.

  4. So you hit a big pothole a few weeks ago, and your steering wheel is now just a bit off center but do you know that your front tires are now scrubbing sideways ( just a bit( but there are two costs here, one your car is having to work harder to keep going straight, the second is every meter you drive is now wearing your front tire out faster, even more costs as tires have also gone up in price.


These are just a few hints, may only save you half a liter every 100 kilometers but $1.00 in your pocket helps if you drive 10000 km a year. It adds up.

For a fun driving experience come to www.GTrace.ca, and see what it is like to drive a well-maintained car on a racetrack.


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