Summer is here and road trip season is upon us.
There are a lot of things you’ll want to check off on your pre-road trip to-do list. If tire maintenance for your vehicle isn’t on your checklist, you need to add it.
You should familiarize yourself with basic tire safety rules to protect yourself and others on the road. Keep reading for all you need to know before embarking on your summer road trips.
Why Tire Maintenance Matters
Your tires are an integral part of how well your vehicle operates. Not only that, but improper tire maintenance can have devastating consequences. Up to 11,000 car accidents occur every year due to tire-related issues.
Your tires are the only part of your vehicle that is constant and direct contact with the ground. They affect how your car handles, rides, and brakes. If you want your vehicle to operate to its fullest capacity, you’re going to need to check your tires often.
The first thing you’re going to want to do is to visually inspect all four tires to look for the following issues:
Overinflation: If your tires have too much air pressure, only the middle section will be in contact with the road. The tires will then wear right in the middle of the tread. An uneven tread will wear your tires out faster, costing you more money in the long run.
Under inflation: Too little air pressure can be devastating for your tires and vehicle. Each tire is designed to have a certain amount of rubber that touches the road. If your tires are under-inflated, more surface area will be contacting the pavement. If more of your tire is on the road, friction will build faster and cause your tire to overheat. When this occurs, treads can separate, and you may experience tire blowouts.
Treadwear: Inspect the treads on your tires. Your wheels may be out of alignment if the tread is wearing only on one edge. If the wear is erratic, you may have a wheel out of balance or your vehicle’s shock absorbers may need to be inspected. You can identify low tire tread by inserting a quarter upside down into the groove. If Washington’s head is visible, it’s time to start shopping for new tires. It’s important to take treadwear seriously as low tread depth can increase the likelihood of being in an accident.
Check Tire Pressure
Before you hit the road, you need to ensure that your vehicle has good tire pressure. Tires will lose 1-2 psi every month, so it’s not a bad idea to get into the habit of checking this when you fill up with gas. It’s easy enough to fill your tires at home if you choose to buy air compressor.
You may be wondering what a good tire pressure for your particular vehicle is. To find out, look in your car’s manual or on the inside of the door if you have a newer model.
Consult a Pro
Some maintenance procedures need to be performed by an automotive repair professional. It’s important to know what these procedures are even though you may not be performing them yourself.
Tire rotation: Check the vehicle’s owner manual to find out how often you should rotate your tires. You should have rotations done between 5,000 and 7,000 miles to ensure you get the most use out of your tires.
Tire balancing: Having your tires balanced will help extend their lifespan. You may need this performed when you notice your vehicle vibrating. We also recommend a balancing after you’ve had a tire removed from the wheel or when you have new ones installed.
Wheel alignment: Your wheels will need to be aligned after you’ve had new ones installed on your vehicle. You’ll want to speak with an automotive professional if you notice problems with your steering as it may indicate a need for an alignment.
On the Road Again
Now you’re ready to road trip to your heart’s content with our tire safety tips under your belt. Be sure to keep tabs on your tire maintenance schedule to avoid delays in your summer plans!
Check out our Lifestyle section to get some more great tips on how to enjoy your summer.