Taking Care of Your Tires

First, make sure that your tires are properly inflated. Your owner’s manual should have the recommended inflation levels. Proper inflation can seriously reduce your risk of tire failure. Most tires will gradually lose air over time, and pressure can drop rapidly if you drive over a pothole or hit a curb. Checking tire pressure with a pressure gauge is more accurate than just looking at it. Tire pressure should also be checked when the tire is “cold” – when it hasn’t been driven for at least 3 hours.

Also check your tire’s tread. The tread is what provides grip and traction on wet or icy roads. When the tread has worn down to about 1/16 of an inch, the NHTSA recommends that it be replaced. For a visual indicator, look for the treadwear markers – raised sections in the bottom of the tread grooves at various places around the tire. When the tire tread has worn down to these indicators, you should consider replacing your tires. If you can’t find the markers, try the penny test: Put a penny in the tread groove with Lincoln’s head upside down. If you can see the top of his head, your tread is worn down to unsafe levels.

If you get a flat tire, make sure that the repair technician is using a combination patch and plug to repair both the exterior and interior damage to the tire. Also make sure to remove the tire from the rim in order to check the inside of the tire for damage. If the sidewall of the tire is punctured, the tire should not be repaired but must be replaced.

Taking care of your tires is one of the easiest ways to keep you and your loved ones safe on the road.

Source: Tire Safety: Everything Rides On It