Tire Safety Tips
Tires are something that many drivers take for granted…but they shouldn’t. Tires are as big a part of your car’s overall safety as anything else. These are all things to keep in mind when it comes to tire safety:
- Proper inflation – Underinflated tires will cost you money in premature tread wear and increased rolling resistance (which means a hit on your gas mileage). Worse than that, though, underinflated tires will compromise your vehicle’s handling and steering, and can dangerously overheat on hot days or long trips. Modern radial tires won’t begin to show signs of deforming until they are at least 30% low on pressure, so just eyeballing a tire won’t tell you if it’s underinflated. Rubber is porous and even brand-new tires lose air, so make a point of checking your tire inflation at least once a month.
- Check your tread – Run your hand along the tire’s tread surface and feel for bumps, ridges, splits in the tread or signs of tread separation. Keep an eye out for nails, screws, glass or any other debris embedded in the tire. Also check the outer and inner sidewalls for bulges or cracks; any of these are indicators of imminent trouble. If you encounter any of these signs, take your tires in for repair or replacement right away.
- Rotate your tires – This one is important! Tire rotation is essential to getting the most miles out of your tires in terms of even tread wear and long service life. Most tire dealers will feature free tire rotations for the life of the tires, so figure on getting your tires rotated with every oil change (every 3000-5000 miles).
- Overloading – Be mindful of what the load rating for your tires is (especially for pickup trucks) and don’t overload your vehicle. Overloading can lead to overheating and eventual tire failure.
- Replace all four tires at once, with the same size and brand – There was a time when you could get by with mixing tires, but those days are over on today’s vehicles. Mismatched tires can make for a squirrelly-handling car and can throw a wrench in your car’s ABS system. If you have to replace in pairs, replace rear tires first…but make sure that the whole set is the same brand, type, size and construction.