Don’t Neglect the Tires

  1. Grab a Gauge
    No other aspect of a car’s tire is quite as critical as proper inflation, yet it’s also one of the most commonly overlooked.  While-three-quarters of drivers wash their cars monthly, only one in seven correctly checks tire pressure with every flip of the calendar’s pages.
    Under-inflated tires tend to sag in the middle, meaning the car is actually riding on a small contact patch located on either side of the tire.  Over-inflated tires, on the other hand, ride on a small contact patch located in the very center of the tire.  Either condition means that the tire’s “handhold” on the road is smaller than it should be, ultimately giving your car less grip on the road.
    Check you tires at least once a month.
  2. Check the Wear Patterns
    Have you ever taken a close look at your tires?
    If your tires are wearing more in the middle than at the edges chances are the tires are over-inflated.  If they’re wearing at the edges more so than in the middle, chances are the tires are under-inflated.
    Also you may notice that one edge of a tire is wearing more than the other.  This could indicate an alignment problem.  Scuffing or feathering of tire tread may indicate other mechanical problems , such as shocks or steering issues.
  3. Rotate routinely
    Factory-recommended interval  for tire rotation generally on the order of every 6,000 miles. Yes if you rotate your tires, they’ll last longer and you won’t have to replace them as often.  Best tire or new tires should be placed on rear. Regular tire rotations are very critical on SUV’s and 4×4 vehicles.
  4. Achieve  Balance
    Ever hear you washing machine go unbalanced?  Tires are the same way.  When new tires are installed on a wheel the tire/wheel combination is “balanced” using a machine that spins the pair. As tires age, however, that careful balance can get throw out of whack, meaning it’s a good idea to have your tires balanced at regular intervals.  Have balance checked every other rotation.
  5. Keep everything Aligned
    Your car comes from  the factory with its suspension carefully aligned meaning all four tires track straight and true in the same direction the car is traveling.  But stuff happens. You back into a curb.  You have a minor fender bender.  You hit a pothole you didn’t see.  All these things can knock the suspension out of alignment.  So if your car’s steering doesn’t feel right, or if you notice unusual tire wear (like a scalloped pattern on the edge of the tires) you car’s suspension could need to be aligned.
  6. Test the Tread
    Ever heard of the “penny test?” It’s a quick and easy way to determine if your car’s tires have adequate tread life remaining.  Simply grab a standard U.S. penny and turn it upside down so the top of Abe-Lincoln’s head is toward the tire.  Slip the penny between two of the tread blocks on your tires. If any of Abe’s head is covered up it means you have at least 2/32 nds of an inch of tread, which experts deem is the minimum necessary for safe driving.  If you see all of Abe’s head it’s time to have tires replaced.
  7. Don’t Forget the Spare
    It’s the one item on our cars we often forget until we need it the most.  When it comes time to checking the inflation pressure, it’s a good idea to routinely check the spare tire.  After all, how frustrating would it be to have to change a flat tire only to find out the spare is flat too!