When it comes to caring for your vehicle, there is nothing more important than safety. These days, cars are designed with all types of safety features like cameras and sensors to protect the driver, as well as other cars on the road. But one crucial part of your vehicle’s safety that is often overlooked is tire maintenance.
You may be surprised to learn that bad tires cause more accidents on the road than drivers using cell phones. Tire issues like excess wear, poor inflation, or other damage can interfere with the handling and overall performance of your vehicle.
Keeping up with tire maintenance is incredibly beneficial – and not nearly as difficult or expensive as you may think. But first, let’s discuss some of the key reasons why you need to make sure your tires are properly maintained.
Benefits of Proper Tire Care
Poorly maintained tires have a longer stopping range and poorer traction, which can lead to a loss of control over the vehicle. The risk of an accident is even greater in poor weather, as the tires will not be able to grip the road through rain, snow, or ice.
Proper tire maintenance ensures tires are installed and set up correctly for optimal handling and a safer ride.
b. Fuel Efficiency
Another incredible benefit to routine tire maintenance is improved fuel efficiency. You can increase your vehicle’s gas mileage average by up to 3% by keeping the tire pressure within the recommended range. While this may sound minimal, it can equate to quite a few dollars saved with fewer fill-ups!
Under-inflated tires require more fuel and energy to rotate, whereas inflated tires turn much easier.
c. Longer Tire Life
Just as you can extend the life and use of your vehicle with regular tune-ups, you can also extend the life of your tires if you take good care of them. Failing to follow common tire care – like rotations and inflation – can cause the rubber to wear down much faster.
d. Better for the Environment
Every year, millions of tires are thrown away and sit in landfills. The rubber on these tires is not always recyclable, and it takes decades for them to decompose. By keeping up with tire maintenance, you can reduce the number of tires that are thrown away every year.
e. Cost Savings
While you can certainly buy great tires at a low cost, taking proper care of your tires can mean that you need to replace them less frequently. Good tires do not come cheap; you want to maintain them as long as possible.
Keeping up with tire maintenance is beneficial for many reasons. But how can you take care of your tires and avoid these issues that could lead to expensive repairs and replacements?
Here are some tire maintenance tips to help you:
1. Check Tire Pressure Routinely
Air will seep out of your tires over time, especially if you drive long distances or at high speeds. The lower the air pressure is, the greater the chances are of a tire blowout. Low tire pressure also increases friction between the rubber and the road. This causes the tread to wear out much faster, and it can even make the tire overheat.
It is best to check your tire pressure every month, as well as before and after long road trips. You can check this with a tire gauge from your mechanic or auto parts shop or take your car to a mechanic and ask them to check it for you.
To check on your own, simply unscrew the valve and push the gauge in until some air is released. This will measure the PSI or the pressure per square inch.
So, what is a good tire pressure? The recommended tire pressure range is typically between 30 to 35 PSI. Be sure to consult your vehicle owner’s manual for the recommended tire pressure and your tire to make sure the range is appropriate for the tire requirements.
2. Monitor the Tread Depth
The tread of a tire promotes a strong grip and traction on all surfaces, especially through rain, mud, or gravel. Uneven wear or shallow tread can cause your vehicle to hydroplane or spin out, which is extremely dangerous.
It is important to conduct a tire tread inspection every month to see if the depth is safe for driving. A handy way to check is to use a penny.
You will place a penny upside-down into the tread, with the Lincoln head facing towards you. If you can easily see the top of his head, then the tread is too worn and your tires need to be replaced.
3. Don’t Skip Regular Tire Rotation
The tires on your vehicle do not wear out evenly due to uneven weight distribution. Front tires tend to wear out faster since this is where the majority of the weight is placed from mechanical parts and passengers. Tire rotation helps to promote even wear so that all of your tires can be replaced at the same time.
It is generally recommended that your tires are rotated after every 5,000 to 8,000 miles. If you’ve got some handy car skills, you can do this on your own – but it is usually best to have your mechanic handle the job.
During a tire rotation, the back tires are placed on the front and vice versa. It is also best to switch the sides of the tires. For example, the right rear tire will go on the front left – so no side of the tire wears out faster than another.
4. Consider the Weight
Having too much weight in your vehicle can wear down your tires faster and also lower your vehicle’s fuel efficiency. Every 100lbs of additional weight can reduce your vehicle’s fuel economy by 2% and add lots of unnecessary friction to your tires.
So, part of your routine tire maintenance should include cleaning out the extra junk from your car. Make sure that you only keep items that you actually use or would need in an emergency. Any extra items should be kept inside the garage.
5. Keep Good Alignment
The alignment of your tires can fall out of balance when you go over bumps in the road. This will change the angle that your wheels and tires point to meet the road, which will wear down tires faster, and irregularly. Uneven alignment can also result in a bouncier, less comfortable ride from your vehicle.
One easy way to test for alignment issues is to drive on a straight road. Set your steering wheel straight ahead and carefully release your grip slightly. If your vehicle starts to naturally veer towards one side, it’s a sign that the alignment is off. Other signals of alignment issues include feeling vibrations when you accelerate or turn as well as difficulty handling while driving.
You should bring your vehicle in for a professional alignment test and repair to resolve the issue.
6. Keep a Spare
Even if you have a set of brand-new tires, it is always recommended that you keep a spare handy. Checking on the status of this spare should be a part of your tire maintenance routine – since it’s easy to forget about until a case of emergency!
Additionally, you should make sure that it’s at a proper tire pressure so it can be used right away if you get a flat. Make sure that it is safely stored as well. Rubber can crack and dry out if it is exposed to high heat or direct sun for too long. The rubber can also get scratched or punctured. It is best to invest in a well-fitting tire cover if your spare is mounted on the back of your vehicle.
Keeping up with consistent tire maintenance can extend the life of your tires tremendously. But the best way to get the most bang for your buck is by purchasing top-quality tires in the first place. Good quality tire models will provide better handling and fuel economy and will not wear out as fast as poorly made models.
At Giga Tires, we pride ourselves on offering only the best of the best when it comes to tires. We carry a wide variety of tire styles, brand names, and sizes to fit any vehicle and budget. Please reach out to us to learn more and place an order today!