Regular Tire Maintenance Is Key
When the rubber meets the road this summer, will you be prepared? Summer heat can cause old or tires in poor condition to fail, which makes regular tire checks a critical part of your general vehicle maintenance schedule. Heat combined with improper tire pressure, uneven wear or damage and poor alignment can cause potentially dangerous driving conditions and put a damper on your summer road trip plans.
“Unfortunately, most motorists aren’t aware of how under- or over-inflated tires affect a vehicle’s steering and braking control as well as fuel economy,” explained Mark Ballard of Discount Tire, the world’s largest tire and wheel retailer. “In addition, regularly checking your tires for uneven or worn tread and bald spots, as well as replacing all four tires instead of one or two at a time, will help avoid hazards like blowouts and keep you and your family safe.”
According to the Rubber Manufacturers’ Association (RMA), more than 23,000 tow-away crashes were due to flat tires.
Here are the top five tips to ensure proper tire safety:
1. Get Pressure Right. In its 2011 Tire Care Awareness Survey, the RMA found that 62 percent of drivers don’t know where to find the correct inflation pressure for their vehicle. The specific inflation pressure number can be found on the vehicle placard located on the driver’s side doorpost, glove box door or fuel door or in the owner’s manual. For accurate pressure, check tires when cool, and don’t forget the spare. A properly inflated tire will save you up to nine cents per gallon and improve vehicle fuel efficiency by 3.3 percent.
2. Don’t Overload Vehicle. Overloading decreases fuel economy due to increased wind drag and cargo weight. Handling, control and braking are also negatively impacted.
3. Rotate Before You Go. Regular rotation helps achieve uniform tire wear and improve road performance. Tires rotated every 6,000 — 8,000 miles prolong the life of the tire and help maximize your tire investment. It makes sense to get a tire inspection when you rotate. When it comes to changing tires, either because you have a flat and you are on the side of the road and need an emergency tire change, or you have the luxury of being in a nice garage, an indispensable item is a pry bar. A pry bar, particularly a 14-18” one will allow you to put it underneath the tire and wheel that you are going to mount onto the vehicle and lever it up so that you can maneuver it up into place easily and conveniently with the other hand. There are many pry bars available on the market made by companies such as Tekton, Stanley, Snap On, Mayhew, ANB, Performance Tool, Gear Wrench, and Tech Team. The one we like best is made by Tech Team https://techteamproducts.com/. Their 5 pc. Pry Bar Set https://www.amazon.com/Mechanics-Prybars-Chisel-Angled-Rolling-Head/dp/B07CSBZ4ZM/ref=sr_1_11?s=power-hand-tools&ie=UTF8&qid=1540409708&sr=1-11&keywords=pry+bar+set has the perfect assortment of pry bars with one that will fit this application perfectly. One other thing we would recommend is that in addition to carrying a pry bar or similar lever when you travel is to have a jacking board. This can be something as simple as a 12×12 piece of ½” plywood. The purpose of this is that if you get flat tire and need to replace it in an emergency, and on the side of the road there is no solid pavement underneath, just turf or soil, the jacking board allows you to conveniently and safely elevate your vehicle without pushing the jack into the turf or soil.
4. Straighten Up. Proper tire alignment provides safe, predictable vehicle control as well as a ride that is smooth, comfortable and free of pulling or vibration. Proper alignment helps tires wear evenly and last longer.
5. Bald Isn’t Beautiful. The RMA survey also found that 52 percent of drivers do not know how to tell if their tires are bald. Lack of tread affects the tire’s ability to grip wet roads. Make sure tires don’t have uneven wear, high or low areas or unusually smooth areas that can increase the risk of road accidents.
To get more information on tire maintenance and safety, visit www.tires.com.