Car Care: Tire Maintenance Tips
Tips for maintaining your tires
Your car’s tires are often ignored until something goes wrong, like a blowout or a flat. To help prevent maneuvering through a dangerous and scary situation or being stranded with a flat tire, you need to regularly monitor the condition of your tires. If you’re embarking on a road trip or have traveled over rough roads, into a pothole or through debris, give your tires an immediate once over or schedule a tire check at your trusted body shop.
Take a good look
A thorough visual inspection of your tires can reveal many issues: over-inflation, under-inflation, uneven tread wear and damage like bulges, cracks and tears and issues with the sidewalls. It’s important to measure the tread on your tires — the tire experts at Bridgestone recommend using a tire depth gauge to make sure the tread on your tires measures more than 2/32-inch deep. If you don’t have a gauge, grab a penny and place the coin with Lincoln’s head upside down into each groove of the tread. If the top of Lincoln’s head is visible, the experts at Bridgestone say it’s time for new tires. Now is also a good time to grab your vehicle owner’s manual to look up the recommended pounds per square inch of air pressure your tires require. Use a pressure gauge to register each tire’s psi — just make sure your car has been parked for three hours before you take the reading so your tires are “cold,” note the Bridgestone tire experts. Add or reduce air in each tire to match the ideal psi.
Pay attention to performance
If you notice your car is pulling to one side, vibrating unusually or making thumping noises while you’re driving, your tires are sending you a message that something is definitely wrong. According to AAA, one of your tires might be out of balance if you feel excessive vibration or hear thumping noises. A tire might have side damage or be underinflated if your car tends to pull to one side. Other reasons for the pull can be poor wheel alignment or a problem with your brakes, reports AAA.
Schedule a maintenance check
In addition to regular checks by you, your tires need to be inspected by an automotive professional. Rotating, balancing and aligning your tires are all services best left to the hands of expert technicians, according to AAA. Check your owner’s manual for the recommended mileage intervals for each maintenance check. According to the tire experts at Michelin, a tire rotation should take place every 6,000 to 8,000 miles or sooner if you notice that your tires are wearing unevenly. Check your tire’s alignment “at least 4,350 miles,” but if the way your car handles changes, your steering feels wrong or you’ve hit something in the road, schedule an alignment check as soon as possible, they add.
Since tires literally connect your vehicle to the road, they serve as the most important safety feature on your vehicle. Practicing proper tire maintenance is integral to your driving safety.
This article is presented by Jack Demmer Ford.