Dear Readers: When is the best time to BUY NEW TIRES? When they are on sale? When your current tires have 10,000 miles on them? When they are 6 years old? Well, the simple answer is: When the tread is extremely worn. However, other factors to consider are the age, cracks, bulges or any other physical defects.
The easiest way to determine if you need new tires is by checking the tread depth. Tires are now made with “wear bars” that run across the tire tread. If you can see them, your tread is at 2/32-inch depth, which most states require as the minimum.
If you can’t see the wear bars, then try this simple and classic hint: Take a penny and insert it with Lincoln’s head down into the tread. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, the tread is too low, and you need new tires. Also consider the age of the tires. If they are 5 years old or older, you probably need new ones. -- Heloise
Dear Heloise: Thank you for your column — the hints are wonderful resources. In reference to the hint about camera pictures, I wanted to share the times I have relied on my camera to help me out.
* In the summer, we drive our RV around the states with our car in tow. My husband sometimes gets frustrated as to the placement of the cables. I took a picture of the tow-bar hookup. Now he can refer to the picture.
* Communicating with repair salesmen: One summer, we had to replace an RV air conditioner in a town that was not familiar with our make or model. I took in pictures of the air-conditioner information pasted under the vent cover.
* Purchase-power magic: I have found that when I bring in a picture of what I need, the mood changes. The salesman said this saves him a lot of time and questions.
-- Bobi in Anaheim, Calif.
Dear Heloise: I take a lot of vitamins and several prescriptions. Unscrewing the tops to all the bottles when I fill my pill reminder got to be a real aggravation. Now I keep the flip tops that come on some (prescription -- Heloise) bottles and have accumulated enough that nearly all of my bottles have flip tops. Sure makes things easier. -- Flipping Out in Alabama
ANOTHER DIRECTOR-CHAIR USE
Dear Heloise: Besides director chairs serving as extra chairs, take off the back strap and put down the sides -- they make an excellent luggage rack for the guest bedroom. I look forward to your hints -- they are the best! -- Diane in Florida
PUTTING ON SOCKS
Dear Heloise: I had hip surgery and was supposed to wear compression socks. They were so hard to get on. My husband came up with wearing rubber gloves. Now they are super easy -- with his help, they go right on. -- Mary, via e-mail
Send a hint to