Maintaining Your Tires

Tires are often the last items we think about when it comes to car maintenance, until the day we have a flat. Keeping tires inflated properly and a good tread will save on fuel costs, tire repair, or even towing if you get a flat.

Inflating your tires to the recommended PSI will keep your tires in better condition, preventing uneven wear on the tread. Check the sidewall of the tire, or the manufacturer’s sticker inside the door for the required PSI. The vehicle manual also gives recommended tire size and inflation instructions.

Accidents are a major concern with over-inflated or under-inflated tires. Taking the time to check the tire pressure is worth the safety of the passengers in the vehicle. This is even more urgent if traveling on the highway. Most people do not consider an improperly maintained tire life-threatening, but it can lead to dangerous circumstances.

Invest in a decent tire gauge to measure the PSI in your tires. Don’t decide a tire is inflated properly just by looking at it. Do not rely on air pumps for accurate pressure readings either. They are not always reliable. Air pressure gauges are carried at auto manufacturers, auto supply stores, or even department stores. Find a gauge with a calibration up to 80 PSI.

Check the tire pressure on all tires, including the spare on a monthly basis. Keep a log in the glove compartment of the pressure readings. This way, you can determine the tires need servicing or not. If you decide your tires need to be looked at by a service technician, show the log readings. The serviceman will get a better idea of what to look for by the pressure readings recorded in the log.

Measuring the tire pressure only takes a few minutes, and will give you peace of mind when you are driving. Insert the gauge into the stem of the tire. A measure stick will push out of the end of the pressure gauge, telling you the tire pressure. Add air to the tire if the gauge reads lower than the recommended air pressure. Let air out of the tire if it becomes overinflated by pushing in on the stem in the middle of the valve. Measure the tire again for proper PSI.

This can be confusing the first few times, so if you feel uncomfortable pumping the air to the correct pressure, bring the vehicle to a service station. They will fill your tires to the proper limit. Some service stations offer this service for free; others will charge a small amount.

There are different causes for damaged tires: over inflation, under inflation, heavy loads in the vehicle, or not rotating the tires. Make the monthly tire check part of your routine for the best wear on your tires, and more importantly, the safety of your passengers. More info

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