Here are five handy tips to make sure your tires go the distance — keeping you as safe on the road as possible while saving you money.
1. Apply a little pressure
Correct tire pressure affects safety, durability and fuel consumption. Proper inflation alone can extend the average life of a tire by 4,700 miles and save motorists up to 11 cents per gallon according to SaferCar.gov. Improper tire inflation can lead to uneven and accelerated tire wear, structural damage, tire failure, and poor gas mileage – Goodyear tire guide.
SaferCar.gov studies show just 19 percent of consumers properly check and inflate their tires and one in four cars has at least one tire that is significantly underinflated. Here’s the tire inflation checklist:
- Check the pressure of all tires, including the spare, at least once a month when the tires are “cold” (when the car hasn’t been driven for at least three hours) and before long trips. This will keep the vehicle driving smoothly and evenly.
- Inflate tires to the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations printed on the Tire and Loading Information Label on the driver’s side door edge or in the vehicle owner’s manual.
- Keep a tire pressure gauge in the vehicle in case you hit a pothole or curb, as that can cause a tire to suddenly lose pressure.
2. Tread carefully
Tire tread provides the gripping action and traction that prevents a vehicle from slipping and sliding, so it is essential to check it once a month to ensure safe driving.
Legally tires are not safe and should be replaced when the tread is worn down to 2/32 of an inch. However,Consumer Reports recommends replacing your tire when 4/32 of an inch remains. To check this, find the built-in treadwear indicators on the tire. When the tread is worn down so it’s level with the indicators, it’s time to replace the tires. You can also check your tread with a penny. With Lincoln’s head upside down and facing you, slide it into a tread groove. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, it’s time to replace your tires.
3. Straighten up
Keep tires balanced and aligned. Tire balancing ensures your wheels rotate properly and don’t cause the vehicle to vibrate. Vibrations can damage the tire and become a safety hazard on the road. New tires should always be balanced when installed and if you begin to feel them shake have them inspected immediately.
Have the wheel alignment checked on all four wheels at the intervals spelled out in the owner’s manual and after any serious pothole bump. It must also be done when new tires are installed. Visually, you can check your tires for uneven wear as this can indicate problems with either alignment or inflation.
4. Turn the wheels
Rotating your tires frequently helps reduce irregular wear. Check the owner’s manual for information on how frequently to do this and for the best pattern of rotation. Ideally, tires should be rotated every 5,000 to 8,000 miles – or sooner if uneven wear appears.
5. A tire for all seasons
Remove your winter tires as soon as the cold, wet weather is over and switch to summer tires. The extra slits and pliable rubber that make winter tires great at handling ice and snow are the same things that make them wear down more quickly on cleared roads.