All tires wear out over time, but did you know that you could be a hazard on the road? We looked to the tire experts at Firestone for these helpful tips on making your tires last longer and recognizing when they should be replaced.
1. CHECK YOUR TIRE PRESSURE AT LEAST ONCE A MONTH
Under- or over-inflated tires can compromise tire performance and lead to an issue that causes you to be stranded on the side of the road. To ensure your tires are properly inflated, use a tire pressure gauge to manually check inflation pressure at least once a month.
Stick to the recommended pressure indicated by your car manufacturer. It’s best to wait a couple of hours after driving to allow your tires to cool (this will get you the most accurate pressure reading).
2. VISUALLY INSPECT YOUR TIRES
It may sound simple, but taking a good look at your tires is an integral part of tire safety and maintenance. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, worn-out tires are three times as likely to be involved in a crash.
Not sure what you’re looking for? Read up on the different parts of tires and learn how to identify common tire wear patterns so you can spot potential problems long before they cause lasting damage.
3. KEEP YOUR SPARE TIRE IN TIP-TOP SHAPE
Riding around on a flat or near-flat tire can wreak havoc on your car. When you’re visually inspecting your tires, don’t skip the spare! Check that it’s properly inflated and look for any signs of damage to ensure your spare is ready for action.
Learn how to change a flat tire so you can keep your car on the road until you can repair or replace your damaged tire.
4. HAVE YOUR ALIGNMENT CHECKED EVERY YEAR
Did you know? Even one pothole can damage your car’s alignment and have a negative ripple effect on your tires. Have your wheel alignment checked about once a year, or ASAP if your vehicle has a shaky steering wheel or seems to be pulling to one side.
Wheel alignment has several benefits beyond helping your tires wear evenly—it can also increase fuel efficiency and make for a smoother ride.
5. CHECK AND CORRECT YOUR TIRE BALANCE
Tire alignment and tire balance are not the same thing! Both are important for tire safety. Tire alignment refers to the angles at which your tires are situated on your car. Tire balance refers to the weight distribution of tires around the car.
If you’re experiencing vibration or shaking, improper tire alignment or balancing could be the issue.
6. ROTATE YOUR TIRES AT REGULAR INTERVALS
Regular tire rotations can help prevent irregular or uneven wear on tires—two things that could lead to dangerous accidents or costly repairs. It can be confusing to remember how often to have your tires rotated. In general, a good rule of thumb is to rotate your tires every 5,000 to 8,000 miles.
7. KNOW WHEN IT’S TIME FOR NEW TIRES
Even with the best maintenance and care, tires will eventually need to be replaced. Not sure if your tires are nearing the end of their lifespan? It’s easy (and cheap!) to check.
Grab a penny. Insert it between the tread of a tire with Lincoln’s head upside down. If any part of his head is hidden, your tires are good to go for a bit longer. If you can see the top of his head, your tread is worn, it’s likely time to replace your tire(s).