Tires are one of the most important parts of a vehicle. One of the biggest mistakes a new driver can make is ignoring their tires until one of them pops. This doesn’t just put the driver in danger, it puts the cars around them at risk and could cause serious damage to the car. There are a few steps that every driver needs to take if they plan on being on the road. Use this guide to learn the importance of proper tire care and see just how easy maintaining a car can be.
Step One: Inspect the Tires
While you don’t have to inspect the tires every time you drive, you should take a look as often as possible. Most tire damage starts out as a small problem. For example, you’ll notice the pressure on one tire is slightly off or another tire is low on air. These problems can quickly escalade, making the tires eventually pop while the vehicle is in motion. If you notice any signs of damage, take action before you drive the vehicle again.
Step Two: Watch the Tread
Tread what causes traction and keeps the vehicle from sliding all over the road. The small grooves in your tire get worn down over time. For the average driver, most tires will lose their tread in about six to ten years. There are several factors that can cause tread to wear much faster, such as driving on bumpy terrain or excessive use. If your tires start to look a little “bald” you may want to consider replacing them.
Step Three: Keep Tires Full of Air
If a tire is starting to look a little flat but there are no signs of damage, check the tire pressure. The correct pressure amount should be listed in your owner’s manual. Because it can be difficult to determine the extent of the damage, you should keep a portable air compressor with you at all times. If the tire looks low again but you still don’t notice any holes or damage, remove the tire and take it to a shop for repair. You can never be too careful!
Step Four: Rotate the Tires Regularly
While each car is a little different, most manufacturers recommend that drivers rotate their tires after every 6,000 miles. This translates to every other oil change for the average driver. Rotating the tires helps even out the wear and keeps them lasting longer. If you don’t want to spend the extra money, this step can easily be done at home. Simply remove one tire and put on the spare. Remove the second tire and replace it with the first one. Continue working your way around the car, then place the spare tire back in the trunk.
Step Five: Pay Attention to How the Car Handles
Swerving all over the road isn’t the car being “quirky” or “temperamental.” It is often a sign that there is serious damage to the car. This could lead to you being unable to control the car if left untouched. One of the first things you should do if your car keeps pulling in one direction is see a mechanic. You likely need a tire alignment to straighten things out.
Step Six: Replace As Soon As Possible
If your tire does break, you can use the spare; however, this isn’t designed to be a permanent fix. Most spare tires aren’t meant to be driven over 50 miles per hour, making them impractical for everyday use. They also tend to be lower quality than your normal tires.
While it can be tempting to save money by purchasing used tires, you may want to consider buying a new one in the event of a break. You should also have a professional inspect the rest of your tires to make sure they aren’t having the same issues as the one that broke. If there is severe damage to all the tires, consider replacing all four rather than taking a risk.
Tire care is an important part of owning a vehicle. While each car is a little different, there are some universal steps you can take to preserve the life of each tire. Talk to a mechanic about the best ways to maintain your tires today.