It is the beginning of a brand new year and time to start or get back into some good habits for taking care of your tires. Here is my suggested list of simple tire care resolutions that will increase the life of your tires, improve your gas mileage and keep you safe on the road.
Check Tire Pressure
Make it part of your car care routine to check your tire pressure at least once a month. If you are not sure of the proper pressure for your vehicle’s tires, check your owner’s manual. Remember that the maximum pressure is not the same as the recommended pressure.
Take the Penny Test
Regularly check your tire tread depth with these easy steps:
1. Hold a penny so that “In God We Trust” appears across the top. Insert it into five different sections of the tire, taking note of the visibility of Lincoln’s head.
2. If you can consistently see the top of Lincoln’s head, your treads are excessively worn, and it is time to go shopping for a new set of tires.
3. If the top of Lincoln’s head (to about the forehead hairline) is covered throughout the tread grooves, the tread is in good shape and your tires probably do not need replacement.
Make tire balancing part of your regular service, which can be done according to your owner’s manual recommended schedule. Tire balancing provides a smooth ride and assures even tire wear by properly adjusting the wheel weight distribution around the vehicle.
Consistent tire rotation is an important maintenance step that will significantly prolong the life of your tires. Different manufacturers have specific recommendations for a particular vehicle or tire, so it is advisable to refer to your owner’s manual tire rotation guidelines to ensure proper tread wear.
Improper tire alignment will not only decrease the life of your tires through uneven tread wear, it will adversely affect the safety of your vehicle. Have the alignment checked if you have hit something or notice a difference in your vehicle’s handling.
Spare Tire Check
Make sure your spare tire is in good shape and that you know how to use it. Check the tire pressure of your spare when you check the pressure of your other tires. Be aware that a spare is intended for temporary use only. Finally, be familiar with the tire changing process before an emergency strikes. You can look up a tutorial video or ask a knowledgeable friend to give you a hands-on lesson.