6 Tips for Keeping Your Tires in Shape
Tires are a critical component of our vehicles, but we’re all a little guilty of overlooking them sometimes — that is, until a flat tire or blowout ruins our day. Tires are to your vehicle what your feet are to your body. If they’re working properly, you’re feeling great and enjoying the journey. However, if something’s wrong, you’re going to experience a huge pain. You can avoid some pain by following these six tips to keep your vehicle’s tires in tip-top shape.
Check the Pressure
Each tire is under pressure, and not just the pressure of the vehicle’s weight. Tires are inflated to a specific pounds per square inch (PSI) rate that is specially developed for your vehicle. You can find your vehicle’s optimal PSI in the owner’s manual or posted in the driver’s side door jamb.
If your tire pressure is below the optimal PSI, you’ll experience poor handling and reduced fuel mileage. Because underinflated tires are more prone to blowouts, they can cause automobile crashes. If you need to add air, don’t overinflate, as overinflated tires can also blow out easily.
With the optimal PSI in mind, check your tires’ pressure using an air pressure gauge that you can attach to the valve stem of each tire. You can purchase a gauge at your favorite auto parts retailer. Your vehicle might also provide a digital readout of the pressure within its information center. We recommend that you check your pressure at least once a month, so set a reminder to complete this important task.
Inspect Tires Visually
Everyone likes a little attention, and so do your tires. You can inspect them during your monthly pressure checks, before a big road trip, while you’re filling the fuel tank, when you’re washing your vehicle, or all of the above. The important thing is that you inspect them.
Look for cuts or worn spots, and have them addressed by a tire care professional immediately. Check for wear with the penny test. Insert a penny into your tire tread with the top of Abraham Lincoln’s head nearest the tire. If the tread reaches the top of his head, you have ample tread remaining. If it’s lower than his head, it’s time to purchase new tires. Check the sidewalls for wear, and make sure the tread is wearing evenly. Unusual wear can indicate overinflated or underinflated tires.
Keep Up With Maintenance
You, the kids, your pets — all need routine checkups. A routine checkup for your tires includes having them rotated and balanced regularly. We recommend a rotation every 5,000 miles for new tires and every six months or 6,000 miles thereafter. During a tire rotation, your tires are properly balanced by the service technician taking care of your vehicle. Ask your service technician to check the alignment of the front tires as well.
Maintaining proper alignment and balance and rotating your tires will extend the life of your tires, just as regular medical care maintains your good health. If you don’t perform routine maintenance, you are more likely to experience punctures or blowouts. Your vehicle’s ability to handle well in adverse weather conditions like rain, snow, or ice deteriorates when tires aren’t properly maintained, leading to hydroplaning or traction loss.
Replace When Needed
If there’s a hole in the sole of your favorite sneakers, a trip to the shoe store is in order. Likewise, if your regular tire inspection shows a worn or punctured tire, it’s time for your vehicle to get new “shoes.” Even though it makes sense to replace a worn or damaged tire, the task often drops to the bottom of our to-do list. When you notice a tire problem, make an appointment at the tire care center immediately. Procrastinating can jeopardize the safety of you, your passengers, and others on the road.
Don’t Mix and Match
If you do encounter a flat tire, it’s okay to just replace that one tire, right? Actually, mismatched tires are not good for your vehicle, so replacing two at a time and installing them on the rear is your best course of action. Replacing only the affected tire seems harmless, but it can negatively affect your vehicle’s performance. For that very reason, auto racing pit crews change at least two tires even if only one blows out. Besides, anyone who has driven on a spare tire can tell you the difference one odd tire makes on a vehicle’s handling!
Practice Good Driving Habits
Your habits affect your body’s health just as your driving habits affect your tires’ health. We’ve all seen an overloaded vehicle driving down the road, its rear bumper inches from the pavement. Not only is that bumper in for a serious case of road rash, but the tires are also probably being destroyed. Your vehicle has a maximum weight capacity that you should adhere to for your tires’ sake. This applies whether you’re hauling something in your Ram pickup, towing something with your Jeep, moving a child to college in your Chrysler minivan, or driving your friends around in your Dodge.
Aggressive or high-speed driving should be avoided, but engaging in these driving habits can destroy your tires. The tires experience higher temperatures and friction, which wears them out quickly, the same reason racing cars have to change tires so often during a race.
When you see a foreign object on the road, avoid it if you can safely do so. Potholes and sharp objects wreak havoc on your tires and lead to cuts, flats, and blowouts.
Taking proper care of your tires is easy to do. Checking your pressure and regularly inspecting them are tasks you can do at home that can be completed in just a few minutes. Driving safely is a good habit that benefits more than just your tires. When it comes time to see a professional, Oxmoor Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram is here to help. Our service department can perform routine maintenance on your tires and take care of every other aspect of your vehicle’s health to keep you enjoying your vehicle for many, many miles.