Tires are the only thing that separates your car from the road. Thousands of pounds of automobile are riding on rubber, therefore doesn’t it make sense to keep your tires in great shape? The following are key ways to care for your tires.
1. Check the air pressure.
Tires hold air and without the proper amount of air present they will go flat, wear out faster or even fail. It is important that you check your tires at least once per month to ensure that there is enough air in each one, including the spare.
Tire pressure is measured by psi — pounds per square inch — and that number should be followed. Do not go by the number listed on the tire wall. Instead, choose the number listed by the manufacturer and located on the placard fastened to the door jamb on the driver’s side. It might also be listed in your owner’s manual.
Tires should only be inflated when cold to obtain a proper reading. Investing in a tire pressure gauge will only set you back by about $10. An at-home tire refill pump is beneficial too, what can help you tend to the tires immediately.
You’re vehicle’s TPMS (most have this) constantly monitors the tire pressure on every corner. While typically accurate, a tire pressure sensor fault can occur and manually checking tire pressure should be done at regular intervals.
2. Rotate the tires.
Tire rotation will extend the life of your tires too. Scheduled rotations ensure that wear is evenly distributed across all four tires.
Follow the tire rotation schedule as outlined in your owner’s manual. Typically, those rotations occur once every 5,000 to 8,000 miles. You should know that some tires, such as performance tires can only be rotated from front to rear. And if different sized tires are used on each axle, then tire rotation cannot happen.
3. Balance the tires.
Another way to ensure that wear is evenly distributed across all four tires is to have them balanced from time to time. New tires are almost always balanced and existing tires should be too.
Car owners may opt for balancing if they notice excessive vibration when driving. When undertaken, such tires are measured on a balancing machine and correction weights are applied in a bid to counteract tire and wheel unbalance. If the car still vibrates after the balancing, the wheels may be aligned or it could be a problem with steering rack.
4. Get the wheels aligned.
An alignment is an adjustment of a vehicle’s suspension, not of the wheels or the tires. Instead, an alignment adjusts the angles of the tires and how they make contact with the road.
If you’re not sure that the wheels need to be aligned, then take your car to a mechanic for inspection. At the garage, the mechanic will put your car on a lift and conduct a more comprehensive inspection of your suspension system too.
Taking care of your tires is not just a safety issue, but it is also a longevity matter. Tires that are properly maintained will last longer and can allow you to avoid purchasing new tires for some time.
When you are ready to buy new tires, always by them in pairs or in fours. When buying pairs, those tires are always placed on the rear axle.
Another thing to consider when buying new tires: if you buy a complete set, you can usually enjoy the largest discounts. Indeed, those deals often include one tire free when paying for three or $50 to $70 off a set of four new tires. If you plan to buy five new tires by replacing the spare at the same time, your savings can be even greater.