Tires are one of the most important parts of your car. These 4 pieces of rubber not only keep your vehicle on the ground, but they affect other aspects of driving such as braking, handling, and safety.
Tires are the only part of the vehicle that has direct contact with the road. While tires are made of sturdy materials, they will eventually get worn out with repeated use and this will make them susceptible to damage. For your safety, you cannot afford to have your tires compromised. This is where tire maintenance comes in.
By taking proper care of your tires, you extend their lifespan and slow the rate of deterioration. To help you along the way, here are effective tips for proper tire maintenance.
1. Check Your Tire Pressure Regularly
One of the most crucial things in the tire maintenance and safety checklist is making sure that your tires have the right amount of pressure before hitting the road. A good rule of thumb is to do a pressure check once a month. However, it’s also recommended to perform a visual inspection just to make sure your wheels aren’t underinflated.
Furthermore, when checking tire pressure, make sure to do the following:
- Use a reliable and accurate tire pressure gauge.
- Use the recommended PSI as stated in the manufacturer’s handbook.
- When using the gauge, place it onto the valve stem and press down quickly and firmly until the hissing sound of air escaping stops. Your gauge will now show a reading of the PSI.
Tire pressure can greatly affect several factors that contribute to the overall driving experience such as:
- Wear and Tear
The contact patch is the portion of a vehicle’s tire that is in actual contact with the road surface, so this is the area that is most susceptible to wear and tear. Having incorrect tire pressure can wear it out prematurely, resulting in up to 60% loss in longevity.
The effects of incorrect tire pressure on the contact patch are as follows:
- Driving with an underinflated tire will wear out the edges of the contact patch at an alarming rate. Furthermore, it can also damage a tire’s internal structure.
- Driving with an overinflated tire puts pressure on the center part of the contact patch, wearing it out faster.
To prevent either of these scenarios, tires must be inflated according to the manufacturer’s specification. This will allow the contact patch to distribute road contact evenly across the tire surface, reducing the amount of wear and tear. Moreover, since tires aren’t cheap, properly inflating your tires can help you save money on replacements.
- Vehicle Handling and Safety
Driving with deflated or over inflated tires is quite dangerous as they can negatively affect a car’s handling and safety. The effects of these two conditions are as follows:
- Handling becomes sluggish if you drive with deflated tires, making turning and cornering quite dangerous, especially at high speed.
- Deflated tires can also cause your vehicle to skid on wet surfaces, making driving a dangerous ordeal.
- Overinflated tires have a greater risk for a blowout which can cause you to spin out of control while in the middle of the load.
- Driving with overinflated tires can also negatively affect braking distance, endangering you and others on the road.
Make sure to have all 4 tires inflated with the right amount of PSI before heading out to have a safer drive and better control.
- Gas Mileage
Properly inflated tires can improve your gas mileage by 0.6% on average and up to 3% in some cases. Whereas driving with underinflated tires can lower gas mileage by about 0.2% for every 1 PSI drop in the average pressure of all 4 tires.
2. Inspect Tread Depth
Tread is the rubber part of the tire that is responsible for gripping the road as you drive. With repeated use, treads will eventually wear down and can lead to issues such as:
- Extended breaking times
- Loss of traction
- Makes your car harder to control, especially on wet roads.
- High risk of aquaplaning
To avoid these issues from happening, one effective safety tip for tires is to check tread depth. New tires have an average tread depth of 8 to 9 millimetres. If it falls below 1.6 millimetres, then it means it’s time to replace your tires.
Here are the different ways to check tread depth:
- Tread Wear Indicators
These are evenly spaced throughout the main grooves of the tire tread. If they are flush with the level of the tread, then it’s a clear indicator that you need new tires.
- Tire Tread Depth Gauge
A more accurate way to measure depth is to use a tire depth gauge. All you have to do is to insert the probe bar into the groove and push the shoulders flush with the tread. Refer to the gauge to check the measurement.
- Ruler or Coin
Alternative ways to measure tread depth is to use a ruler or a coin with a diameter of 23.25 mm. All you have to do is to insert the items into the grooves and take the measurements.
3. Rotate Your Tires
Regardless of your car’s wheel drive, both front and rear tires operate at different loads and perform different steering and braking functions. This results in unequal wear patterns.
One effective tip for maintaining tires and gaining maximum performance is to perform tire rotations. Here are some things to remember when doing the process:
- Refer to the manufacturer’s manual for the recommended mileage to perform tire rotation.
- Tire rotation is usually performed between 8000 and 12000 km
- You might want to rotate them sooner if you see signs of uneven wear.
4. Check Your Car’s Wheel Alignment
Each car has specific wheel alignment settings. If ever wheels end up getting misaligned, these issues can occur:
- Uneven wear and tear between all 4 wheels.
- Steering is negatively affected, resulting in the car drifting in the wrong direction, especially on wet surfaces.
- Bad alignment can cause the steering wheel to shake and vibrate, making driving very uncomfortable.
- When wheels are misaligned, your engine has to work even harder, resulting in more fuel consumed.
You should have the wheel alignment checked if you notice any irregularities in handling. If there are, have a mechanic adjust it right away. Not only will this make driving safer, but it also extends the life of your tires.
5. Check for Tire Damage
The general condition of your tires is essential to the overall safety. So, one of the most important tips for proper tire care is to check your tires for signs of damage.
When inspecting your tires, be sure to look for the following:
However, some types of damage may require tire removal, so it’s recommended to take your car to a tire service centre and have a mechanic do a thorough inspection.
Taking good care of your tires is an essential part of owning a car. By practicing proper tire maintenance, not only will you be able to extend the lifespan of all 4 wheels, but it will contribute greatly to overall road safety.
If you are looking for good quality tires for sale as well as alignment services, call Round & Around Tire Inc. at (905) 393-8474 today!