Top 6 Things to Do to Take Care of Your Car Tires
Your car’s tires are made to last for a long time. In fact, with proper maintenance, you can drive with them for up to 5 years!
Nevertheless, your tires aren’t indestructible. They can get bloated, punctured, or blown out if you aren’t careful or if you leave problems unattended. (In addition, experts agree that tires older than 6 to 10 years should be replaced, whether or not they look worn.)
Thus, if you want your tires to last as long as possible, yield better fuel economy, and deliver great handling, you should take good care of them. Here are some maintenance tips you should keep in mind:
Check and Maintain the Correct Tire Pressure
Tires can lose pressure even if you’re not driving. In particular, warmer conditions can make tires lose pressure faster. Thus, it’s a good habit to check the tire pressure at least every month; if you live in and drive in hot environments, it’s best to check more frequently.
The recommended tire pressure—measured in psi or pounds per square inch—is indicated in your vehicle’s owner’s manual, as well as on the sidewall of the tire. Most new cars also have a sticker on the inside of the driver’s door. Also, take note that there are different recommended psi for cold and warm weather.
Perform Routine Visual Inspections
Sometimes, a quick visual inspection can show you clues about the state of your car’s tires. If the tires are worn on both their outside edges, for example, it can be indicative of underinflation or leaks. Meanwhile, a sawtooth pattern or feathering on the edges likely means that the tires are rubbing unevenly against the road; as such, you might need an alignment.
You should also look for any foreign objects that are embedded in the tire or lodged in the treads. If you see small rocks and other debris stuck in the grooves, take them out carefully. However, if the object seems to have pierced the rubber, don’t attempt to remove it anymore or else you’ll end up with a flat. Take your car to a garage and replace the tire ASAP.
Check the Treads
The biggest indicator that your tires are in need of a replacement is the condition of the treads. Always keep an eye on the wear bars (check the sidewall so you know where to look); if they’re visible, it’s time to buy new tires. You can also get a cheap tread depth gauge for an easier time taking measurements.
The location and evenness of tread wear can also give you an idea regarding other issues you may have. For example, if the tread wear is concentrated on the centre, it’s probably a case of overinflation. Meanwhile, if only one tire has worn treads, you’re probably in need of wheel balancing and/or alignment.
Note that the front tires usually wear out much faster since they’re responsible for steering; nevertheless, they may wear at a higher rate than normal if you have suspension issues. Bald spots on your tires may also indicate worn shocks, so bring your car in for a professional inspection. On the other hand, tire wear on only one side of the vehicle is indicative of alignment issues.
Rotate Your Tires
As earlier mentioned, the front tires get worn down faster than the rear tires. As such, to achieve uniform wear and extend the life of the full set, you should rotate your tires every 10,000 to 12,000 kilometres or every 6 months. For long-distance drivers or those who often carry heavy cargo, the schedule should be more frequent.
It’s relatively easy to rotate your tires on your own, provided that you have the right tools to do so. If you prefer not to DIY, most mechanic shops can rotate your tires for you.
Don’t Overload Your Vehicle
Overloading your car can hurt your tires, making them flatten, overheat, and burst. Make sure to only carry cargo that’s within the recommended capacity to make your tires last much longer. Besides, overloading can also lead to other problems such as poor fuel economy and excessive strain on the brakes. Thus, staying at the ideal carrying capacity is good for the overall health of your vehicle.
Replace the Tires Four at a Time
Ideally, you should replace your tires all at once. This helps ensure that the tires wear evenly, as well as provide a more comfortable driving experience. If, for any reason, you can only buy two, make sure they match the others. You should also install them on the rear axle for better traction. Of course, don’t forget to rotate the tires accordingly.
Last but not least, always keep a spare tire and the appropriate tools in your car. This way, in case you experience any problems on the road, you can install the spare and ensure that you can get safely to a garage or auto repair shop.
Stay safe and happy driving!