Recent research by the Rubber Manufacturers Association tells us that more people wash their cars each month than properly check their tire pressure. But a clean car is not going to do much to keep us safe on the roads. Adding a few minutes to your fall car care routine to check your tires will help keep you safer this season. Here are some simple tips:
* Examine the tread on your tires once per month and before every long trip. Your tires should have at least one-sixteenth of an inch of tread depth, which is the legal limit in most states. Perform the “penny test” by inserting a penny in the tread at several points on the tire, with Lincoln’s head pointed down. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, the tread is worn and the tire probably needs to be replaced.
* Take a good look at your tires. Uneven tread wear could mean a number of different problems: under- or overinflation, tires out of balance or wheels out of alignment. If your tread appears to be wearing unevenly, ask your TiresPlus service professional to take a look.
* Don’t neglect the signals your tires are sending you. Tires have “wear bars” built into them. These indicators appear when you have worn your tread down to one-sixteenth of an inch.
* Rotate your tires according to the vehicle owner’s manual. The forces exerted on tires differ depending on the tire’s position on the car, which may cause uneven tire wear. Front wheels work harder because they do the turning and most of the braking. And rear wheels can be unevenly loaded.
* Check your air pressure with an accurate tire gauge at least once a month and always when cool – meaning the car has been driven less than one mile or has not moved in at least three hours. Tires can lose up to 1 pound per square inch per month, and tire pressure can change by 1 pound per square inch for every 10 degrees change in ambient temperature.
The next time you head to the car wash, take a few minutes to check your tires so you can cruise the roads knowing your vehicle is clean and, more importantly, safer for any season.