While most of us assume that our vehicles will function without a problem, a lack of maintenance can wreak havoc. The condition of a vehicle’s tires is especially important to keeping you and your car safe. Tires that are in poor condition can blow out or cause an accident, but well-maintained tires will last much longer than tires that have been neglected. Let’s take a look at a few tips that will help tires operate as designed.
Take a Look at Your Tires
While it might seem basic, a simple inspection of your tires can help you keep them in good shape. Don’t just walk around the vehicle and perform a superficial examination from a standing vantage point. Get down on the same level as your tires and perform a thorough inspection. Look for bulges and cracks. You might even find objects that have punctured your tires such as stones, screws, nails, or glass. Some tire stores will repair this type of road damage for free, but if the object has punctured the tire’s side wall you will likely need a new tire.
Take care to not overload your vehicle. Look at the placard on the door frame to see how much weight your vehicle can sustain. If you overload your vehicle, it could result in tire damage or failure.
Tires that are inflated to the level indicated by the automobile manufacturer will perform as designed. When tires are under-inflated, they generate unnecessary heat that can cause a blowout or weaken the tires to the point that they can be easily punctured. Under-inflated tires also wear and tear at a quicker rate. On the other hand, over-inflation is just as dangerous. Tires with too much air can also cause a blowout and increase the wear and tear rate. Check your tire pressure at least once per month to verify that they are at the proper level, and always check your tire pressure before taking a long trip.
Inspect Your Treads
Take a look at your tire treads on a regular basis. Tirerack.com states that tires should have a minimum depth of 4/32 inches. If your tread depth is less than 4/32 inches, it is time to either rotate them to even out the tread wear or purchase new tires. You can measure your tires’ tread depth by placing a quarter with Washington’s head facing down into a tire tread groove. If his head is obscured, your tire has at least 4/32 inch tread. If you decide to rotate your heavily worn tires, always keep the deepest treads in the rear. The higher quality rubber with more tread will allow the vehicle to hold onto the road and channel water better. This will prevent fishtailing and hydroplaning.
Wheel Alignment and Tire Rotations
A wheel alignment can do wonders for your tires. When the wheels are out of alignment, the tires are easily damaged. Have your wheel alignment checked every now and then. Whenever you have new tires put on, the wheel alignment should be inspected and adjusted if necessary. Having the proper wheel alignment will allow the tire tread to wear evenly. If you wait too long and a misalignment occurs, one section of the tire will weaken compared to the others and be much more prone to damage.
A regular rotation of your tires will also help to prevent uneven wear and tear. Abide by Michelin’s advice and rotate your tires every 6,000 to 8,000 miles. Don’t let the front tires remain there for more than 8,000 miles as they wear twice as fast as the rear tires. You can purchase a hydraulic floor jack and rotate your tires yourself, or spend around $15 to have the job done at a shop.