Tire safety should be a year-round affair – especially in October, when temperature and atmospheric pressure begin to change. Fall or winter weather is often responsible for underinflated tires, a problem which reduces your vehicle’s stability and increases the risk of tire blowout.
The American Automobile Association predicts at least 1.2 million motorists will be stranded due to tire-related issues this year. We’ve got tips to help keep your tires in working order and prevent you from becoming stuck on the side of the road.
Check Tire Pressure
Maintaining a consistent tire pressure is essential for safety and good performance. The exact pressure number varies depending on the car, and sometimes on the environment or other factors. Typically, correct tire pressure is in the neighborhood of 30 psi. At least once a month, or before taking any long trips, you should check to make sure the tire pressure remains at a safe, stable level.
Underinflated tires do not roll as easily, and can increase resistance between rubber and road; this, in turn, creates more energy and diminishes the vehicle’s fuel efficiency. When your tire is properly inflated, it can improve your fuel economy by 3.3% and extend the lifespan of your tires.
Colony One Tip: Always keep a gauge in the glove box for on-the-spot tire pressure checks, just in case.
Rotate Your Tires
It’s recommended that you rotate your tires every 6,000 to 8,000 miles. Because tires wear differently from one side of the vehicle to the other, rotating them helps even things out, thus significantly improving their consistency and performance over time.
Colony One Tip: When having routine maintenance done to your car or truck, ask your technician to rotate your tires. It’s a quick process when your vehicle is already propped up on the lift.
Examine Your Tire Treads
The treads of your tires impact not only your driving performance, but the overall safety of your vehicle in hazardous road conditions. It’s recommended you have 2/32 inch of tread depth to pass most state inspections and lower your risk of an accident.
Colony One Tip: Take a quarter and stick it in between the tread with the head facing down. If any part of the head is obscured, then you have the minimum amount of tread needed.
Align Your Wheels
Wheel alignment reduces wear just as much as rotating your tires. Misaligned wheels rapidly increase the deterioration, which can impact your steering and your vehicle’s handling ability – both factors which ultimately compromise your overall safety, particularly in inclement weather.
Colony One Tip: When driving, glance at your steering wheel from time to time. If it’s vibrating, pulling the car left or right or not centered when moving straight ahead, then you have an alignment problem.
Keep the Deepest Treads in the Back
Most people think this approach should actually be reversed, with the front tires having the deepest tread because that is where the most braking happens. That actually isn’t the case.
Deeper treads grip the road and channel water away from the vehicle better; this prevents hydroplaning and fishtailing. While your front tires may experience some degree of understeering, it’s easier for a driver to make corrections under this condition rather than the oversteering that can result from worn rear tires.
Stay Safe with Our Tire Experts
Tire safety can mean the difference between a smooth ride and many trips to the auto shop. Because tires aren’t covered under a manufacturer’s warranty, it’s important to take care of the ones you have so you don’t break the bank on replacing one, two or all four. Bring your car or truck into Colony One Auto Center and let us check the quality of your tires to ensure optimum safety for both you and your vehicle. Call us at 832-900-5400 or request an estimate.