During the summer months, personal vehicles tend to cover a lot of ground between travel and daily commutes.
However, consistent rolling, turning and braking on hot roadways can pose safety risks to your vehicle – and one of its most important components, the tires. Ensure your car or truck is ready for the road regardless of how much you typically drive with these tips from the tire experts at your neighborhood Discount Tire.
Be wary of age. The older a tire, the higher its risk for failure. As a tire ages, the rubber becomes hard and brittle, and loses elasticity and strength. The age of your tire can be found by checking the Tire Identification Number stamped on its sidewall. You’ll want to replace any tire that’s more than 6 years old. Remember tires should generally be replaced in sets of two or four to help ensure even wear and maximum safety.
Get pressure right. Tires lose air due to the constant impact of bumps and turns. Temperature changes also affect air pressure – for every 10 degrees in ambient temperature change, the tire air pressure changes 1 pound per square inch (PSI). Although fluctuations are normal, low pressure can lead to poor handling, lower gas mileage, excessive wear and overloading.
Check your tires’ air pressure at least once a month, especially before long trips. You’ll get the most accurate reading when tires are cool, meaning they haven’t been driven on for several hours. You can find the manufacturer’s recommended tire pressure on a sticker in your car’s door jamb or in your owner’s manual. If you need assistance, stop by a local store like Discount Tire, which offers complimentary air checks and tire safety inspections.
Check your tread. A vehicle’s safe stopping distance is largely determined by the tread on its tires. More tread equals better road grip and shorter stopping distances while cars with lower tire tread can take significantly longer to bring to a complete stop. The easiest way to check your tread is by sticking a penny with President Lincoln’s head upside down in a tread groove. It’s time to replace your tires if his entire head is visible.
It’s a good idea to check tires in multiple places. Numerous factors can contribute to uneven wear, meaning the tread may be thicker on one part of the tire than another. Tires should be rotated every 6,000 miles or earlier if uneven wear develops, as driving on uneven tread can be dangerous.
Check your trunk. Most new vehicles are replacing spare tires with tire inflation kits that include puncture-coating sealants, air compressors and even run-flat tires. Check to see what equipment your vehicle has to assist with a flat or tire failure and make sure you have a roadside assistance plan.
Don’t overload. The combination of heat and overloading a vehicle, which is common for summer travel, is one of the most dangerous conditions for tires. Overloaded tires can overheat easily, which can lead to flats or tire failures. Overloading has a similar impact on driving as underinflated tires.
For additional tire safety tips, to locate a store near you or schedule a service appointment, visit discounttire.com.