The tires are a very critical component of your vehicle when it comes to safety. If tires are well maintained your safety is maximized.
Every driver should understand and commit to a pre-trip inspection before any trip begins. Also, at least once a month, check your tires for everyday travel as well.
When you focus on tire maintenance, keep tabs on the following aspects: tire pressure, visual inspection, periodical tire rotation, wheel alignment, vehicle load, and the spare tire.
Ensure that the tire pressure is inflated as recommended by the vehicle manufacturer. Underinflated tires increase the risk of damage to the tire, which also can affect vehicle handling. Sometimes, you might find that the front tires’ pressure recommendation differs from the rear tires.
When checking tire pressure, also make sure that you check your spare tire just in case you need it.
Best way to check tire pressure of course is the use of a pressure gauge which can be obtained at any auto parts store and sometimes a gas station.
Take note that sudden temperature drops may cause tire pressure changes but be sure to only inflate your tires as recommended by the manufacturer.
Checking of tire pressure is also part of the visual inspection which includes inspecting your tire tread. When the tread is worn, replace the tire immediately as you are no longer safe on the road.
After hitting a pothole or any other debris that may damage the tire, stop and conduct your tire visual inspection.
Best to replace all your tires at once, but if that is not possible, just remember to have your wheels aligned if you put a new tire or two on your vehicle.
Periodical tire rotation
Of course, you can rotate your own tires if you are so inclined and have the time. If you take your car to your mechanic or your tire place, make sure they do a comprehensive inspection.
To rotate your car’s tires means to remove the rear tires and fit them into the front and remove the front tires and fit them to the rear. If you notice any sign of wear, rotate your tires sooner than later and make sure whomever handles the tire rotating also performs wheel alignment.
Recommended tire rotation interval is every 6 months or 6000 miles. Tire rotation prevents irregular wear and tear of the tires and has been proven to improve fuel efficiency.
Proper wheel alignment can prolong the lifespan of the tires. Wheel alignment can be done when doing the tire rotation, repair or replacement of a damaged tire or during periodic vehicle maintenance service. Other benefits of wheel alignment are increased fuel efficiency, improvement of vehicle safety and the experience of smoother driving.
Why vehicle load is so important for tire maintenance? For example, the vehicle manufacture instructions should specify recommended tire pressure when the vehicle is loaded. Remember to take vehicle load and utilize the tire pressure as recommended.
Whenever in transit, it is important to carry a spare tire that is in good condition, free from physical damage and inflated with the recommended pressure. Before heading out on a big trip, make sure you know how to change the tire using the spare, the wheel spanner and the jack.
Even if you don’t know how to change the tire, you should have everything necessary in place so that even those who opt to help you will be able to do so without any hindrances. Learn how to fix the tire yourself so you can avoid asking help from strangers which could put you in danger.
Safe tires are absolutely critical since they are the only components that connect the vehicle to the ground. Make sure you do everything necessary to prepare your car for a big trip or just everyday driving.
Julie Hara is a Content Manager at the Car Ninja blog.