The average driver takes his tires for granted. After all, tires are made of incredibly durable rubber that can seemingly pass over just about any surface. However, those who fail to take proper care of their tires will suffer the consequences. Tires require care to perform as designed, allow for optimal fuel efficiency and promptly respond to your steering commands. Here’s how to keep your tires in tip-top shape.
Rotate and Realign Tires
Tires should be rotated every 7,000 miles. Tire rotation ensures even wear across the front and rear. It also wards off uneven deterioration. It is quite easy for wheels to become misaligned. All it takes is driving over a pothole to cause a wheel to fall out of alignment. So be sure to have your tires rotated and realigned at about the same frequency as your oil changes (every 6,000 to 8,000 miles).
Tires gradually lose pressure as time progresses. The NTHSA reports tires with an air level below the PSI recommended by the automaker are three times as likely to lead to an accident. You do not want to find out first-hand how underinflated tires affect your driving safety. Pick up a tire gauge and check your tire pressure at least once per month. Be sure to wait an hour or so from when you turn off the engine to check the tire air pressure. This amount of time gives the tires ample time to cool and provide an accurate reading. Your tire PSI should always match that on your vehicle’s doorjamb.
Track the Tire Tread
Tire tread must be a minimum of 2/32 of an inch deep to maneuver the road in a safe manner. The NHTSA reports tires with tread below 2/32 of an inch played an important part in causing crashes. Here’s how to do it: Place a penny into your tire’s groove. If Abraham Lincoln’s head is covered, the tire tread is at an acceptable level. If you see Lincoln’s head, the tread is too low and the tires should be replaced.
Replace all Four Tires Rather Than Two
Some people buy two tires rather than four to save money. Merely replacing two tires can cause fishtailing when turning. Furthermore, changing out only the rear tires might cause you to lose significant traction when it rains, snows, hails or sleets.
Before you figure out the pros and cons of manual vs. automatic transmission, give your tires an examination. Occasionally look for punctures, cuts, bulges etc. If you notice damage and are uncertain as to whether you should replace the tire, consult with an expert to make an informed decision.
Respect Your Tires’ Load Capacity
Mind the tire load index. If you exceed the recommended capacity, it is possible for an abundance of heat to build up. This heat has the potential to cause a sudden destruction of the tire(s).
The Spare Tire is There for a Reason!
Most people dread the idea of replacing a compromised tire with the spare. However, making use of the spare tire can preserve the damaged tire. So, go ahead and replace that damaged tire or wheel with the spare, make your way to the auto shop and you just might find the compromised tire can be repaired.
Drive at a Reasonable Speed
Tires are especially prone to damage when the vehicle is traveling at a high rate of speed. This damage can be caused by contact with road hazards or the build-up of heat. High rates of speed can also lead to a quick air loss. In some instances, a high rate of speed can even cause a tire to explode. If your tire explodes, maintaining control of your vehicle will prove quite difficult.