Regardless of the size of the vehicle, tires are a huge investment. To make your tires last as long as possible, it’s important to keep up with regular care and maintenance. Your car will run as efficiently as possible when you keep up with tire tread, tire pressure, wheel balance, alignment and rotation.
Deep Wheel Tread
Sufficient tread depth is a vital safety element, particularly in wet or snowy road conditions. In Missouri, we’re used to driving on snowy roads. However, worn-out tread will reduce friction between the tires and the road. This makes it difficult for the car to accelerate, which increases the risk of hydroplaning. It also makes it hard for the car to stop quickly, which increases the risk of crashing during a sudden stop.
How to maintain tire tread
Check your tread depth every few months. To check the tread, place a penny upside down between the tire tracks. If you can see Lincoln’s head, it’s time for some new wheels.
Periodically check your suspension system and the car’s alignment. If either is faulty, your tires will wear unevenly. This can require more frequent tire replacement.
Avoid driving on uneven roads and stopping suddenly. Skidding your tires and driving on uneven pavement can quickly wear down tire tread. A smooth drive will help your tires last as long as possible.
Proper Tire Air Pressure
Under-inflated tires are a problem because they decrease fuel economy, compromise handling, wear down tread and can cause blowouts at high speeds. In fact, as many as 600 fatalities and 33,000 injuries annually are due to under-inflated tires. On the other hand, over-inflated tires ride roughly, which also causes uneven tread wear and possibly blowouts. It’s important to follow the vehicle manufacturer’s inflation pressure recommendations. These can be found in the owner’s manual, on the tire information label in the glove box or the driver’s side door.
How to maintain proper tire pressure
Check the pressure of each tire (including the spare) at least once a month. Typically, tires will lose about one PSI (pound per square inch) of pressure every month simply through normal driving conditions.
You’ve probably heard it’s best to check the pressure when tires are “cold.” However, tires being “cold” has nothing to do with the weather. It simply means the tires haven’t been driven on for at least 3 hours.
Follow the car manufacturer’s PSI instructions rather than the PSI printed on the side of the tire. Tires do not require the same amount of PSI for each vehicle. The PSI on the tire only reflects the “maximum permissible” pressure.
Keep Up With Wheel Balance, Rotation and Alignment
It’s important to maintain proper tire balance, as well as keep up with wheel alignment and regular tire rotations. These simple maintenance requirements will maximize the life of your tires and provide a safer driving experience.
Wheel alignment is important in keeping the vehicle driving straight and balanced. When tires are off balance or unaligned, the front and rear wheels will wear unevenly.
How to keep wheels balanced and aligned
Tire balance refers to the way each individual tire sits in relation to the car. Your tires can become unbalanced due to typical wear and tear or from driving on uneven road conditions. If your steering wheel vibrates or the car seats shake when your vehicle reaches speeds of 60-70 miles per hour (MPH), have your tire balance checked. However, if the tires, steering wheel or car seats vibrate or shake at 40 MPH or lower, have your tires checked immediately – this is an indication of a bad tire.
In Missouri, we understand what snow and mud can do to our tires. The symptoms of unbalanced tires are similar to those of ice and mud buildup. If you have mud, snow or ice clumped around your rims, remove this buildup before having your wheels checked for balance issues.
The wheel alignment refers to the tires’ relation to one another. If the wheels are out of alignment, the car will pull to one side or there will be excessive wear on one side’s tires and not the other. A good rule of thumb is to have the tire alignment checked with every tire rotation.
Like balance and alignment, keeping up with tire rotation will ensure all 4 tires are wearing down evenly. While most manufacturers recommend a tire rotation every 7,000 miles, the frequency needed depends on driving conditions, vehicle weight and tire quality. An easy way to keep up is to request a tire rotation with every other oil change.
SCHEDULE A TIRE ROTATION EVERY SIX MONTHS
Regular tire rotations will stop your tires from wearing down unevenly. A simple rule of thumb is to ask for a tire rotation any time you get your oil changed. Maintaining a tire rotation schedule will help your tires’ longevity and safe performance for you and your family. Contact your local Christian Brothers Automotive to schedule a service today!
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