Important Tire Safety Tips

tire-safetyTires have a rough job. They transport you and your vehicle over potholes, dirt roads, and ice. They have to go from sixty to zero in milliseconds to prevent you from hitting the other car that so rudely cut in front of you. So, it’s only fair that you take good care of your tires.

Tires should be inspected on a regular basis (and especially before long road trips). The sooner you catch a minor problem, the less money and time you have to sink into getting it fixed. Otherwise, you end up spending hundreds if not thousands of dollars in repairs (and quite possibly hospital bills) when that little problem turns into something much more serious.

Air Pressure
Tires work because of the air pressure within. If there’s too much or too little, that’s going to cause problems on the road. Check the air pressure of your tires once a month (including the spare). Under-inflated or over-inflated tires can wear out faster, have a reduced grip on the road, and consume more fuel, making you spend more money on more tires and fuel. It only takes a couple minutes a month to save your wallet the pain.

Tires need tread in order to grip the road, evacuate water and keep you in control. Without enough tread, the tire is not going to have a good grip on the road. This is particularly dangerous in wet or wintry conditions.

Tread should be checked once a month, and all you need is a quarter. Insert the quarter into a tread groove with the top of Washington’s head facing down. If you can’t see the top of his head, your tires have at least 4/32” of tread (which means you’re good to go). If you can see the top of Washington’s head, then it’s time to start shopping for new tires.

Tire Alignment
If you’re driving down a straight road with no cross-wind and your vehicle’s tugging on one side, that’s a sign that your tires are out of alignment. Other signs that the alignment is off include your steering wheel not returning easily after a turn and your steering wheel remains at an angle while driving in a straight line.

You should check your tire alignment when:

  • You’ve hit a sizable object on the road.
  • You see a wear pattern on the outer edges of the tires.
  • When you replace suspension or steering components.
  • At least every 4,350 miles.

Tire Rotation
Tire rotation is important to keeping the wear on your tires even, ensuring that they last longer. This is done by removing the tire and wheel from your vehicle and moving it to a different position.

Depending on the type of vehicle you have and its manufacturer’s recommendation, tires should be rotated every 6,000 to 8,000 miles, and at first sign of irregular wear (yes, even if it occurs before 6,000 miles).

We highly recommend getting auto insurance coverage for your tires. Should they need replacing (either simply from age or from dipping into a pothole), auto insurance can help you pay the costs to keep your car and you safe on the road.

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