- Checking the tire tread;
- Checking your tire pressure;
- Rotating your tires;
- Ensuring your car is properly aligned;
- Inspecting your spare tire;
The tread provides a tire its ability to grip the road. Checking for signs of wear and tear is the most important aspect of the visual inspection. Sharp objects embedded in the tire, along with cracks and tears, can compromise its lifespan. The depth of the grooves between the tread is also an indicator of tire health. A quick way to measure tread depth is to use a quarter. Place it with Washington’s hair downward between the grooves. As long as there is a portion of his head covered by the tread, the tire is still useful. Otherwise, it is advisable to replace it. Perform this test on several sections of the tire to make sure there are no areas where the tread is too worn.
Maintaining Tire Pressure
A large portion of your vehicle’s safety comes down to the tires. Under-inflated tires are a common cause of increased tire wear and motor vehicle accidents. It’s not always easy to detect under-inflation. A tire can be almost 50% under-inflated before its visually noticeable. A quick way to determine if your tires are affected, is to simply to check if the wear on the tread is present on the two outer edges of the tire, with very little wear in the center.
Over-inflating a tire alters the physical characteristics of the design and tread. This will often affect the performance of the car, which can be dangerous. The tire will be stiff and unyielding, which will make it susceptible to damage by pot holes and road debris. This can result in a harsher ride, a reduction of traction during braking, and possible loss of control of your vehicle while driving. To determine if your tire is over-inflated, check the tread on the center of the tire. If it is significantly worn, while the outer edges are virtually untouched, the tire needs to be corrected.
Air pressure gauges can also be used to check tire pressure. They are inexpensive and available at most automotive retail outlets.
Regular rotation of the tire ensures that the tire tread wears evenly. The tread wears off differently in the various corners of the vehicle. For example, front tires wear on the outer edges due to the constant left and right turns a car makes, while rear tires wear more evenly. The general guideline for rotating your tires is once every 5,000 miles. This will ensure a smoother ride, and safer handling of your car.
A car’s alignment can get disrupted by pot holes, hitting the curb, and regular wear and tear of the suspension as it ages. A bad alignment can wear down tires quickly and cause difficulty maintaining control of the vehicle. It’s important to get your car’s alignment checked regularly. Not only is a properly aligned car safer, it’s also easier on the wallet by reducing the amount of fuel needed by your vehicle.
Tire maintenance doesn’t stop at maintaining the tires attached to your car. Your spare tire needs to be cared for as well. There are several things to watch for when storing a spare tire.
- Air Pressure
Tires stored for long periods of time can be susceptible to under-inflation. This may be due to a variety of reasons, such as it being a folding or compact spare sold by the manufacturer in order to be inflated upon use, or simply damage to the spare. Making sure you have a properly inflated spare tire on reserve will save you time and money during emergencies.
- Dry Rotting
Rubber can deteriorate with age. Over time, the tire may show small cracks in the sidewall which will greatly affect its performance. If your spare tire is dry rotted, it should be replaced.
Ultimately, tire care is simple and easy. If you get in the habit of checking them once a month, it may help you to avoid disaster; not only with your wallet, but also with your life.