Every driver should understand a few simple tips about automotive maintenance. This will help to create a safer environment for all those traveling on the road. One thing that every driver can easily understand is tire safety. A few facts and tips can offer a much better understanding of tire safety and how to keep a car running smoothly and safely over the variety of different surfaces you will encounter. Tire safety is more than simply maintaining proper air pressure and occasionally getting tires rotated for even wear. It calls for routine inspection of the condition of your tires as well as a full understanding of what makes tires road worthy and when they need to be replaced.
In order to operate a safe and efficient vehicle on the road, it's necessary to have well maintained tires. Tire safety includes regular rotations of the tires—every 5,000 to 6,000 miles—routine walk-around inspections of the tires, proper tire inflation, and an understanding of appropriate tread depth and whether or not your tires are experiencing even wear.
Simple Tire Safety Tips
Tire safety tips and advice are often found in your vehicle owner’s manual. If an owner’s manual isn't available for reference, ask an auto technician about the recommended air pressure for your tires and check regularly to ensure that they are inflated to the suggested PSI. RightTurn recommends consulting technicians at your local auto dealership. Dealerships are the only places that employ automaker-certified technicians.
Tire Safety – Checking Tire Pressure
To check the tire pressure on your car, you'll need a tire gauge. These are simple instruments that can be kept in a vehicle storage compartment. It's best to test the tires when they are cold, or a few hours after driving. As they warm up, air pressure may fluctuate slightly depending on road surface and the type of driving done on the tires. To use a tire gauge, remove the valve cap and place the gauge firmly on the valve, depressing the valve stem. This will give you an immediate reading. Replace the valve cap and repeat the process on the remaining tires.
Tire Safety – Checking Tread Depth
Tire tread can be quickly checked with a couple of coins. A penny or a quarter will do the trick. Honest Abe and George Washington will aid in this simple trick that will let you know if you have enough tread to drive safely. Take a penny, flip it upside down and place it into a tread void (groove). If the height of the tread reaches Lincoln's head on the penny, you've got at least 2/32 of an inch which should pass inspection in every state, but is very close to needing replacement. The exact same test can be done with a quarter to indicate 4/32 of an inch.
When you begin to see the depth decline toward 2/32 and 1/32, it's time to replace tires so that you'll be safe on the roadways. In environments with heavy rain or inclement weather, it is best to drive on tires that possess at least 4/32 of an inch of tread so any tread void or sipe (groove) will allow for plenty of tread to remain in contact with the wet road surface.
Tire Safety – Recognizing Uneven Tire and Tread Wear
Regular tire rotations will help you avoid problems with wheel alignment or balance that adversely affect tire wear. Warped or imbalanced tires can become hazardous on the road, leading to a blowout or a flat that can subsequently result in an accident.
In addition to regular rotations, it's smart to routinely inspect tires if it feels like the quality of your ride has changed or it fails to respond to steering like normal. Uneven tread wear becomes rather obvious, and can be seen with a simple visual inspection. This can also be the result of driving on underinflated or overinflated tires.
Any tires with, cracks, tears, exposed steel, or belt materials in the sidewall or within a tread pattern should be replaced immediately.
Tire safety is a necessity for safe driving, but it will also ensure that your vehicle is operating at its most efficient. This means less money spent on tire maintenance and less money spent at the gas pump.