If you want to get the most mileage out of your car’s tires, you’ll want to pay attention to these top 10 tire care tips. Since tires are the only part of the car that touches the road surface, you want to ensure proper grip and that they’re in the best shape possible.
1. Insure proper tire inflation. – Underinflated tires canincrease the chance of a blowout, since they can get hot and weaken. Be sure to check the air pressure of your car’s tires once a month – and do so when the car is “cold” or has not been driven for a more than a few miles (to the gas station, for example) or has rested for a couple of hours following a long drive. Use the proper tire pressure and inflate tires to the levels recommended by the manufacturer. Tire air pressures are listed on a placard on the driver’s side door, inside the glove compartment or fuel-filler door and in the owner’s manual.
2. Check tires for wear. – Regularly inspect tires for any signs of cracks, bulges, or cuts in the sidewall and tread area. AutoMD warns that a tire wearing on the outside edge can be a sign are not aligned. Be sure to have damaged tires replaced.
3. Check tire tread. – It’s important to check tires for any uneven tread wear. Consumer Reports says that uneven tread wear typically means poor alignment or suspension components that are worn. To check for tread wear, use a quarter (not a penny as previously recommended). In the old tests, inserting a penny upside down into the tread, if the top of Lincoln’s head was visible (1/16 inch), it was time for a new tire. In the new recommendation, consumers should replace tires when tread reaches 1/8 inch.
4. Rotate and balance tires. – Different sites recommend slightly different intervals for tire rotation and balance. Some say to do this with every other oil change (7,000 – 10,000 miles), Edmunds recommends every 5,000 miles, while Dunloptires says the maximum interval for tire rotation is 6,000 miles. Check your vehicle’s owner’s manual for the recommended tire rotation intervals.
5. Keep records of tire maintenance. – If you hope to have your tires qualify for tire manufacturer warranty, you’ll need to keep accurate records of tire maintenance. That’s because tire warranties can be voided if they don’t see proof that you’ve rotated, aligned and inflated tires properly.
6. Avoid road hazards. – A big part of maintaining your vehicle’s tires in tip-top shape is how you drive. Drive a safe and sensible speed, keep a safe distance from other vehicles, avoid potholes, and don’t drive over rough or damaged roads, on the edge of the pavement or over curbs. Also be careful driving after heavy rains or inclement weather, the time when potholes are likely to appear. Avoid fast turns on corners and curves and avoid panic stops and fast starts.
7. Avoid overloading the vehicle. – Consumer Reports advises owners to stay within the vehicle’s recommended weight capacity. This is indicated on a placard on the doorjamb. If you overload the car, the tires “run hotter,” which can, in turn, increase the chance of tire failure.
8. If you need two new tires, be sure to have them installed on car’s rear axle. – Uniroyal, among other sites, says that if you need two new tires, insist that they be installed on the car’s rear axle. That’s because new tires grip the road better and when they’re mounted on the rear they reduce the potential for fishtailing or hydroplaning in wet conditions.
9. Remove tires if storing vehicle for extended periods. – According to Dunloptires, any vehicle that will be stored for extended periods should have the tires removed, placed in plastic bags, and stacked in a cool, dark place. All tires lose air over time, so if they’re left on the vehicle and in contact with ground or other surface they’ll tend to excessively deflate – which could result in flat spots.
10. Keep all tires the same. – Many sites recommend owners keep all tires the same type. That means they should have similar tread pattern, same performance rating, size and construction – unless the vehicle was engineered for different front and rear sizes.