Tires are of one of your car’s most valuable assets. It takes strong, heavy rubber to propel your 4,000 pound vehicle over rugged roads and stay safe. No tires are indestructible, though, and if you want to keep driving, you’ll need to get some tire smarts. Here are few key things to know about keeping your wheels happy.
Checking Your Tire Safety
You need to know how to tell whether or not your tires are up to date. If you don’t, you won’t know when they need care, much less which kind of care they need. Luckily, there are some simple tips to help you know what condition your round, rubber slabs are in.
- Penny Test. Here’s a great way to check how things are going. According to Pepboys, all you do is this: 1) take your everyday penny 2) stick it in your treads, head side down 3) check to see you if you can still see the top of Mr. Lincoln’s head. If you can see the entire head, it’s time to get some new tires.
- Check Your Pressure. You should check your tire pressure monthly.
- Look For Obvious Wear and Tear. Big problems can pop up suddenly. Nails and other stray bits of junk can get lodged in your tires and slowly cause serious damage. Newer tires suffer from dry rot more quickly than in the old days.
- Look For Less Obvious Wear and Tear. Michelin offers a neat little page of hints for checking your tire wear here. Use it.
To keep your tires strong and able, you’ll need to look after them. In addition to the checks in the previous section, you should:
- Keep Up With Your Scheduled Check Ups. Don’t ignore that little sticker in your windshield. See your trusted mechanic. Trained professionals can give your tires a real, expert eye. It may be good to try to do it yourself, but don’t be proud to let the people who do this every day do their job.
- Drive Carefully. Watch the road while you drive. Streets can be covered with broken glass, deep potholes, roadkill, and countless other hazards. Don’t hit them.
- Use Appropriate Tires. If you need winter tires, use winter tires. But if you move, or if it warms up, it might be time to switch types. Discuss with your mechanic for details and recommendations.
Finding Good Tires
When shopping for new tires, don’t settle for the first good deal you find. It pays to do your research and shop smart. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Keep Local Conditions In Mind. Different tires are built with different conditions in mind. Think of all the hazards you’re likely to face over the year. Again, ask your mechanic and any gearhead friends for tips.
- Shop Around. The internet has lots of good deals that your local dealer might not. You might save serious dough by taking a look around.
Dangers of Poor Tire Care
Bad tires are dangerous. Blowouts can cause accidents, flats can get you stranded, and sudden loss of pressure can make you lose control of your car. Car accidents are serious business—according to Kendall Law Firm, accidents injured over 2 million Americans just in 2013. By simply following these simple tips, you can help keep our roads safe.