Maintain Your Tires with These Simple Steps

Not everyone is aware of the best way to maintain their tires and not knowing could be a dangerous thing for your wallet and for your safety. Here is a basic introduction to tire maintenance for the average driver:

Pressure

When it comes to tire pressure there is definitely a sweet spot, this is because an over-inflated tire can wear out the center tread. Likewise, an under-inflated tire can interfere with your steering, wear out or overheat the edges of the tire, and decrease fuel economy.

Pressure Tips:

  • Check your tire pressure at least once a month
  • Check the pressure when the tires are cold (this gives you the most accurate reading)
  • Follow the inflation pressure recommendations on the driver's door jamb, the glove box, or your vehicle owner's manual.
  • Keeping your tire pressure right where it is supposed to be can help your tires last longer.
  • You should also check your tire pressure before a long trip.

Tread Depth

Tire tread depth is important, especially if you live in a place that is often (or ever) wet or snow covered. Road conditions can greatly affect your ability to travel safely, especially if your tires do not have the proper tread depth. You are more likely to hydroplane in the rain, or lose traction in the snow, if your tire treads are not deep enough.

Here are some tread depth tips you should be aware of:

  • You can easily check your tire's tread depth by placing a quarter into a tire groove, (make sure the quarter is upside down) if you can see above Washington's head, then you need a new tire.
  • Rotating your tires on a regular basis will also extend the life of your tires. You can have this done on a regular maintenance schedule or, if you opt to do it yourself, simply place the back right tire on the front left side of your car, etc.

Wheel Alignment/Balance

Rotating your tires regularly can also help with wheel balance and alignment. Here are some tips on when you should have your alignment checked or tires rotated:

  • Have the balance of your tires checked if you feel unusual shaking in your steering wheel
  • Sometimes unbalanced tires can cause squealing noises when you turn, if you hear high pitched screeching when you turn you may want to check your tires and rotate them.
  • If your car pulls more to the left or the right it is time to have your wheels aligned.
  • If you don't have the above issues, you should at least rotate your tires every 5,000-7,000 miles.

New Tires

When you purchase new tires, always place them on the back of the car. This is because losing traction in the back will cause your vehicle to spin.

As you can see, there are a lot of things you can do to extend the life of your tires, but following the above recommendations will also help you stay safer on the road. Visit our learning center for more car and truck maintenance advice.