Summer is synonymous with road trips, travel and family vacations. But as people get ready to take to the open road, it’s important to take the time to make sure your vehicle is ready for the added miles. As the only point of the vehicle that makes direct contact with the road below you, June has been deemed National Tire Safety month by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in an attempt to remind people to check their tires to ensure they are safe. Ideally, tires should be checked regularly to make sure they are performing at their best and are not in need of being replaced. Doing so will not only improve your safety but extend the life of the tire and save you money in the long run.
Proper Tire Inflation
Having the recommended amount of tire pressure in your tires is quite possibly the most important aspect of keeping your tires safe and roadworthy but according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), only 19% of consumers actually check and maintain their tire pressure at a proper level. Improve the safety of your vehicle and avoid being the one in four vehicles on the road to have at least one tire significantly underinflated by checking to make sure they are at the right PSI monthly with a quality gauge you can trust, whether that’s a digital, stick or dial type . Not only will this make your vehicle safer on the road but save you on average $0.11 per gallon while you’re driving.
Proper Tire Tread
Tires come in a variety of types to enhance specific performance including All Weather, All Terrain, Competition, Passenger, Performance and Winter and while deciding which tire is best for you depends on the climate you live in or your specific needs, the simple fact remains that every tire needs proper tread to work in the way it is intended. Tires depend on their tread to maintain traction on any road surface but they really depend on it when your vehicle encounters inclement weather like snow, ice and rain. Tread, while often thought of as one item, is comprised of several components including the shape of the tire itself, the thread grooves, voids, lugs, sipes and wear bar, and are all key elements to your tire’s performance. An easy way to make sure your overall tread is correct, place a penny upside down in several of the grooves. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head above the groove, then your tires should be replaced as soon as possible.
Proper Tire Maintenance
Maintaining your tires goes well beyond checking your tire pressure monthly or the tread you have left. It also involves taking steps to ensure the longevity of your tire as the miles go by. Rotating your tires helps not only improve the performance of the tire but also the life of the tire. This involves the practice of moving the wheels and tires of an automobile from one position to another, to ensure even tire wear. Experts recommend rotating your tires every 6 months or every 6,000 to 8,000 miles, and doing so in a pattern of making sure each tire not only shifts from back to front but to driver’s side to passenger side or vice versa since tires perform differently on where they are placed on the vehicle.
In addition, it’s important to check to make sure your car is aligned correctly. It’s not always easy to detect while driving but if you notice your vehicle is drifting to one side or your steering wheel needs to be held crooked in order to go straight, it could be due to an alignment problem. It’s possible you may also notice uneven wear to your tires that can indicate you have an alignment problem. Wheel alignment isn’t usually listed by vehicle manufacturers on the recommended maintenance schedule, so how often it should be done is left more to when you notice a problem.
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