Maintaining your vehicle’s tires is not only essential to getting better gas mileage, but it is also crucial to ensuring safety on the road. To maximize tire life, the Car Care Council recommends checking tire condition and pressure regularly, and there is no better time to start than National Tire Safety Week.
“It takes only five minutes to check tire inflation, including the spare. Since tires effect a vehicle’s ride, handling and traction, checking tire pressure frequently and having tires rotated and balanced are an important part of vehicle safety,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “We encourage all motorists to do their ‘PART’ and check vehicle tire Pressure, Alignment, Rotation and Tread on a regular basis.”
Pressure – Correct tire pressure is good to your wallet and the environment as properly inflated tires can improve gas mileage by three percent or ten cents per gallon. Underinflated tires are under stress and wear uneven, causing them to be replaced sooner.
Alignment – If your car is shaking or pulling to one side it could be a sign of an alignment issue. Because uneven or accelerated tire wear may indicate an alignment problem, it’s a good idea to have your car’s alignment checked at least once a year.
Rotation – Unless your car manual has a specific recommendation, the Car Care Council recommends having tires rotated every 6,000 miles to promote uniform tire wear. Unbalanced wheels can cause rapid wear of shock absorbers and struts, and wheel balance can change as a result of normal tire wear. Rotating the tires to keep their sizes equal is critical on full-size four-wheel drive vehicles as a difference of only 1/4 inch between the outside circumference of the front and rear tires can cause expensive damage. Replacing all four tires at the same time, rather than just the front or rear tires, is highly recommended for these vehicles.
Tread – Use the penny test and visually inspect tires for sign of uneven wear. If the tread depth falls below the minimum legal requirement or the sidewalls become severely cracked or punctured, tire replacement will be necessary.
The Car Care Council supports the Rubber Manufacturers Association’s Tire Safety Week (June 1-7, 2014). For more information on service interval schedules, questions to ask a technician and tips to drive smart and save money, check out the council’s free digital Car Care Guide online at www.carcare.org/car-care-guide.