The tires on your vehicle won’t last forever. There are things you can do to make sure you get the most out of them before they need to be replaced. Proper tire maintenance not only helps your tires last, but it can also save your life.
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Dangers of Bad Tires
While there are things that can happen to your tires to damage them that are beyond your control, like getting a nail in one of them, most tire issues can be avoided with proper maintenance. If you aren’t taking care of your tires, you risk getting a flat, having a blowout, or worse.
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Part of proper tire maintenance includes knowing how to change a tire, knowing how much air pressure your tires require, and watching the tread on your tires. Improper air pressure can cause a blowout. If you’re going fast, you risk rolling your vehicle or getting in a multiple-vehicle accident.
How to Maintain the Life of Your Tires
There are some easy things you can do to help the tires on your vehicle last longer and to avoid dangerous blowouts when you’re on the road. Here are five tire maintenance tips every vehicle owner and each licensed driver should know.
1. You Need to Check Tire Pressure
If you take a look at the tires on your car, you’ll see a bunch of interesting information on them. Not only do they have the size information on them, but you can usually find the recommended tire pressure as well. If not there, it should be listed in your owner’s manual. You need to know the recommended pressure to put air in your tires.
Your vehicle’s tires can lose air for many reasons; because of a slow leak, because of age, or because of the weather. Make sure to check tire pressure (the gauges are small and fit in your glove box) once a month. Check again if you’re going on a road trip.
Make sure you put in the right amount of air. If your tires are low, you risk hydroplaning on wet roads or when it’s raining. Too much pressure can risk a blowout.
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2. Get Your Tires Rotated
One easy tire maintenance feature that many people ignore is getting tires rotated. It’s important not to ignore this, as it will help your tires last a little bit longer and will ensure that they all wear out at the same time. On a front wheel drive vehicle the front tires will wear out faster than the back tires, but you can prevent only needing to replace two tires at a time by rotating.
You should rotate your tires every 5,000 to 7,000 miles, or whenever is recommended by your maintenance plan. You may work with a dealership, a garage, or go by what it says in the owner’s manual.
3. Keep an Eye on Tread
The tread on your tires tells you when it’s time to start shopping for a new set of wheels. Good tread gives your vehicle better traction, especially on wet roads.
Checking tread depth is easy to do, even if you don’t have a specialized gauge for it. You can use a penny to test it. Just put the penny in the tread with Lincoln’s head down. If you can see the top of his head, it’s time to start shopping. If your tread is really worn down, you might be able to see it without testing it, and then it’s definitely time to get new tires on ASAP.
4. Properly Place New Tires
If you only get a couple of new tires, make sure that the new ones go on the back. This process ensures you have good traction on the back end to keep you from spinning out on wet or icy roads.
If you’re getting your tires replaced at a reputable shop you can rely on the fact that they’ll put them on properly. However, you can always (and should) check that the new tires are on the back before you drive away from the shop.
5. Utilize the Spare Tire
Your spare tire is there for emergencies, but you don’t have to wait until you have a flat to use it. If you notice that your tread is extremely low, don’t be afraid to make use of your spare tire.
Spare tires aren’t just for one-time use. However, you need to make sure you’re keeping up with spare tire maintenance as well. Before heading out on long road trips or at least every couple months, check the tire pressure on your spare. If you’ve used it, keep an eye on the tread wear on it as well.
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Tire Maintenance Could Save Your Life and Your Car
Proper tire maintenance ensures your vehicle is safer on the roads. A blowout or loss of control because of low tread on an expressway could total your car, harm you or someone else in your vehicle, or harm someone else on the road if you collide with them because of your bad tires.
(Besides properly maintaining your tires for safety, you also may want to know when to have your car brakes serviced or maintained.)