Tire maintenance is the number one aspect of safe driving that is often overlooked by many drivers. Proper tire maintenance not only ensures a smooth and comfortable ride, but it also plays a significant role in preventing accidents on the road. Neglecting tire maintenance can lead to blowouts, poor handling, and reduced performance, all of which can have serious consequences.
To keep you and your passengers safe, and to get the best performance out of your vehicle, the professionals at Car Credit encourage you to take tire maintenance seriously. There is a lot riding on it!
Check Your Tire Pressure Regularly to Avoid Blowouts
Proper tire pressure is essential for safe driving as it affects the stability, handling, and braking of your vehicle. Underinflated tires can lead to blowouts, decreased fuel efficiency, and poor handling, while overinflated tires can cause uneven wear and reduced traction.
To check your tire pressure, you will need a tire pressure gauge. Simply remove the valve cap from the tire, place the gauge onto the valve stem, and press down firmly. The gauge will provide a reading of the tire pressure. Compare this reading to the recommended pressure listed in your vehicle’s owner’s manual or on the sticker located on the driver’s side door jamb.
It is recommended to check your tire pressure at least once a month and before long trips.
Changes in temperature can also affect tire pressure, so it is important to check tires more frequently during extreme weather conditions.
Rotate Your Tires to Ensure Even Wear and Tear
Tire rotation is another aspect of tire maintenance that is often overlooked. Uneven wear and tear on tires can lead to poor handling, reduced traction, and decreased lifespan. By rotating your tires regularly, you can ensure that they wear evenly and last longer.
To rotate your tires, you will need to follow a specific pattern depending on whether you have front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, or all-wheel drive. The general rule of thumb is to move the front tires to the back and the back tires to the front. If you have a spare tire, it is also important to include it in the rotation.
It is recommended to rotate your tires every 5,000 to 8,000 miles or as specified by your vehicle’s manufacturer. Regular rotation will help maintain even wear and tear, improve traction, and extend the lifespan of your tires.
Keep Your Tires Balanced to Improve Handling and Performance
When a tire is unbalanced, it can cause vibrations, poor handling, and uneven wear – leading to a less comfortable ride and reduced performance.
To balance your tires, a technician will use a balancing machine to determine where weights need to be added to the wheel. These weights will counterbalance any heavy spots on the tire and ensure that it spins evenly. It is recommended to have your tires balanced whenever you have them rotated or if you notice any vibrations or uneven wear.
Signs of unbalanced tires include vibrations in the steering wheel or seat, uneven wear on the tires, and a decrease in fuel efficiency. If you notice any of these signs, it is important to have your tires balanced as soon as possible to prevent further damage and ensure a smooth and safe ride.
Inspect Your Tires for Signs of Damage or Wear
Inspect your tires regularly to identify any signs of damage or wear that could compromise the safety and performance of your tires. That way, you can catch any issues early on and take appropriate action.
To inspect your tires, start by visually examining them for any signs of damage such as cuts, bulges, or punctures. Check the tread depth using a tread depth gauge or the penny test. Insert a penny into the tread groove with Lincoln’s head upside down. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, it is time to replace your tires.
If you notice any signs of tire damage such as uneven wear patterns, sidewall cracks, and excessive vibration while driving, have your tires inspected by a professional and take appropriate action.
Replace Your Tires When They Reach the End of Their Lifespan
To maintain safe driving conditions, you need to know when to replace your tires. Tires have a limited lifespan and will eventually wear out, losing their ability to provide adequate traction and performance. Replace your tires before they become a safety hazard.
The lifespan of a tire depends on various factors such as driving habits, road conditions, and tire maintenance. On average, tires should be replaced every 6 to 10 years, even if they appear to have sufficient tread depth. However, it is important to regularly inspect your tires for signs of wear and damage and replace them sooner if necessary.
Signs that it’s time to replace your tires include low tread depth, visible signs of damage or wear, frequent flats or blowouts, and poor handling or traction. If you notice any of these signs, replace your tires as soon as possible to ensure safe driving conditions.
Choose the Right Tires for Your Vehicle and Driving Conditions
Choosing the right tires for your vehicle and driving conditions affects the performance and safety of your vehicle. There are various types of tires, each designed for specific driving conditions and vehicle types.
When choosing tires, consider factors such as the climate you live in, the type of driving you do (highway, off-road, etc.), and the size and load capacity recommended by your vehicle’s manufacturer. It’s also important to consider the tread pattern and compound of the tire; these can affect traction, handling, and noise levels.
Different types of tires include:
All-season tires are the most common and provide a good balance of performance and traction in various weather conditions.
Winter tires are designed for cold weather and provide superior traction on snow and ice.
Summer tires are designed for warm weather and provide enhanced performance and handling.
Performance tires are designed for high-performance vehicles and provide superior grip and handling at high speeds.
Store Your Tires Properly to Extend Their Lifespan
To extend the lifespan and maintain the performance of your tires, store them in a cool, dry, and clean environment away from direct sunlight, heat sources, and chemicals.
Proper storage starts by cleaning tires thoroughly to remove any dirt, debris, or brake dust. Place them in airtight plastic bags to protect them from moisture and store them upright or stacked horizontally. Remember to rotate the tires every few months to prevent flat spots from forming.
Tips for tire storage include:
- Do not stack tires too high.
- Store them away from electrical equipment or appliances that emit ozone.
- Avoid storing them near solvents, fuels, or other chemicals that can degrade the rubber.
Don’t Ignore Warning Signs of Tire Problems
Ignoring warning signs of tire problems can create serious consequences for the safety and performance of your vehicle. Address tire problems as soon as they arise to prevent accidents and further damage.
Warning signs of tire problems include vibrations, pulling to one side while driving, uneven wear on the tires, frequent flats or blowouts, and decreased fuel efficiency. Depending on the issue, the solution may involve tire repair, tire replacement, or other maintenance procedures. Consult with a professional to determine the best course of action and ensure the safety and performance of your tires.
Your tires are the only point of contact between your vehicle and the road. By prioritizing tire maintenance, you can prevent accidents, improve handling and performance, extend the lifespan of your tires, and ensure a smooth and comfortable ride.
Your safety and comfort come first at Car Credit. Visit one of our four Tampa Bay area dealerships and let us put you on the Road to the American Dream.