After spending good money on tires, most drivers fail to give them adequate maintenance. Tires play an important role in driving safety, so making sure they’re in road-worthy condition is essential. Below are a few tire tips and tricks to follow. Properly purchased and maintained tires will last longer than neglected ones, saving you money, and most importantly, keeping you safe.
1. Buy Quality Tires from a Reputable Brand
First and foremost, when you purchase new tires, make sure they’re from a reputable company and of premium quality. You and your car depend on them. Buying internationally known brands like Goodyear and Nokian tires ensures safety and affordability. Remember, your purchase should reflect your driving style, driving environment, and vehicle. After buying a new set of tires, try driving the vehicle initially for at least 200 miles at medium speed on dry roads.
2. Maintain the Correct Tire Pressure
Find out the right air pressure for your tires and make sure you maintain it. Check the pressure before and after long drives, during cold driving conditions, and when carrying heavy loads. Otherwise, check every month regularly on a fixed date.
Under-inflated tires can overheat, causing excessive and irregular wear from over exertion. This might even lead to a blowout. Besides, tires that have been riding around with the improper air pressure need to be replaced more often. Over-inflated ones lead to loss of proper road grip and less traction on braking, the consequences of which are obvious. Maintaining optimum tire pressure is even good for the environment as the correct pressure helps in making the vehicle more fuel efficient.
3. Select the Right Tire Tread
More tread just means more grip. Although legal limits are 1.6mm, driving with anything under 3.0mm can be risky. Do not just buy tires based on how the tire looks. Use a standard tread gauge and ensure tread depth is sufficient on all four tires. Check the inside, outside and center portions. How long tires will last with good tread in the end depends on the brand. For example, the usual length of service for quality Nokian tires can be as long as 60,000 miles.
4. Pay Attention to Balance and Alignment
Improper wheel alignment is the main reason for premature tire wear. Poor alignment and balance issues also contribute to over-consumption of fuel and loss of road grip. Check the alignment immediately if you sense the vehicle pulling towards either side while driving or if the steering wheel shakes when driving at high speeds.
5. Stay on Top of Tire Rotation
If you’re only buying two tires, always fit the new tires in the back. Having the better tires in the back means more driving control and directional stability. Also, be sure to have your tires rotated every so often – many people like to have this done at the same time as an oil change – in order to ensure even wear. In addition, replace the valves every time you change your tires. Properly tightened and functioning values with well fitted dust caps make sure the tires remain safe. Check for tears on the side, cracks, bulges, and damage to the wheel rim. Sub-standard products damage easily, but high-quality tires will last longer.
These five tire tips are extremely important to follow, primarily because they concern the safety of the car and its passengers. On top of being a smart car owner who properly maintains his or her vehicle, remember to avoid rash driving, excessive speeds, and frequent braking. Take good care of your car and it will take good care of you!
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James Cash is a master mechanic and part time writer.