Tire maintenance & safety

Caring for new tires

Tires are something that most people just do not give a lot of thought to until something goes wrong and it’s time to replace them. The good news is, they don’t really need a lot of maintenance (certainly not as much as your car’s mechanical systems do), and it’s pretty easy to take care of them and get a long service life from them. There are a few things, though, that you do need to keep in mind with your new tires.

Watch your driving habits. Obviously, if you regularly mash the gas pedal hard enough to break traction and burn rubber, that will take a lot of life off your tires. Besides that, though, be careful about your braking and cornering habits, and go easy over potholes and railroad tracks; they will all take a toll on your tires.

Check your inflation regularly. This is something that a lot of people neglect, and there’s no excuse for it. Under-inflated tires will wear unevenly, overheat due to increased rolling resistance, and cause your car to use significantly more gas. Modern tires will not visibly deform until they are 15 or 20 pounds low on inflation, so at least once a month go around and check the inflation of all four tires and top them off if necessary.

Keep your car’s front end in alignment. Problems with alignment, steering or suspension will cause uneven tire wear and chew up a new set of tires. Often you won’t even notice a pull to one side or another, vibration or other problems until something is pretty far out of spec, so at least once a year, bring your car in to have your alignment checked and brought back to spec if needed.

Rotate your tires. This is probably the single best thing you can do for a new set of tires. Regular tire rotations will keep your car riding, driving and handling better, and will ensure that your tires wear evenly. Most tire dealers will offer free rotations for the life of the tire if you buy them there. An easy way to handle this is to have your tires rotated at every oil change (which, of course, keeps you coming back to your tire dealer).

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