Taking care of your tires not only keeps you safe, but it can also save you money! Tire maintinance improves their performance, handling, and increases their life span. It also leads to a better ride and lower gas mileage. Who wouldn't love that? Especially when a new set of tires usually carries a hefty price tag.
There are a few different things to look out for when it comes to tire safety:
Tire Pressure - This is one of the most important things to watch when it comes to your tires. Low tire pressure can lead to decreased control of the vehicle, uneven wear and tear, increased gas consumption, and even accidents. Did you know that a tire can lose up to half of it's pressure without even appearing to be flat? Overinflated tires are just as dangerous, they can easily explode, wear out quickly, and make the vehicle more difficult to handle. So, how do you make sure your tires are at the perfect pressure? Ideally, you should check their pressure every month and before long trips. Don't forget to check the spare tire as well! You can find information on the ideal tire pressure for your car in the owner's manual or possibly on the door post. If your tires are low on pressure, you can fill them up for a minimal price at any gas station that offers an air pump.
Alignment - Making sure your tires are properly aligned is important because if your suspension is out of whack, your tires can wear unevenly or cause handling problems such as "pulling". How can your tires get out of line? Potholes or bumpy roads are the major culprits. Refer to your owner's manual for specifics on how often you should check the alignment, and have a tire dealer check it out for you as often as is recommended.
Rotate Your Tires - Having your tires rotated evenly distributes the wear and tear on your tires. The weight of the car is distributed differently which causes each tire to wear differently. By rotating your tires, you can elongate the life of them, which will save you money in the long run. Your owner's manual should have a specific recommendation for how often the tires should be rotated but if not, most tires need to be rotated every 5,000 miles.
Check The Tread - The tread on your tires is what helps them cling to the road, and is especially important in the rain and snow. You can visually check the tread to make sure the tires are in good shape. Look for tiny "wear bars" which are small, raised bars of rubber on the tires. Watch out for smooth parts of the tire which are "bald". The easiest way to test the tread on your tires can be done with a penny. Put Lincoln's head in one of the grooves of the tire, if you can see part of his head, your tires are fine. If you can see all of Lincoln's head, you need to replace the tire.
Maintaining your tires is one of the most important things you can do for your car. By regularly checking the pressure, tread, alignment, and rotating the tires you can extend the life of your tires, which will only save you money in the long run. Not to mention the fact that it is an important tip that will help keep you and your family safe!
Sources: Rubber Manufacturers Association
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