Road trip season is here and safely getting to your favorite destination is just as important as what you’ll do when you get there. Check out these tips for making sure your tires are ready to hit the road.
First up- Air Pressure
While having under underinflated tires guarantees you’ll spend more money at the pump, having overinflated tires can cause loss of traction and worsen the quality of the ride The wrong air pressure can also cause tires to wear unevenly, shortening the tires’ lifespan. The good news? Most cars tell you exactly how much air you need in the owner’s manual or a sticker on the inside of the driver’s door.
Be sure to check your tire pressure before any long trip – including the spare - as well as every 1,000 miles you travel.
Also, if you encounter a significant change in temperature, be sure to check your tires again. A good quality tire gauge or a quick stop at an air pump is all you need.
Having your oil changed? Rotate your tires while you’re there. Even if a car’s tire pressure is correct, variations in suspension calibration, driving conditions, weight balance and road conditions will cause tires to wear at different rates. These factors make it important to periodically rotate your tires When you swap your tires from left to right or front to rear, based on your manufacturers suggested rotation schedule, it will help them last longer.
Tire rotations should be completed every 5,000 to 8,000 miles OR as soon as you notice one side of tire tread has worn significantly faster than the other side.
Most tires have built-in “treadwear indicators,” which are raised sections that run in between the tire’s tread. When the tread is so worn down that it’s level with the tread indicator, it’s time to replace your tires. The penny test is one easy way to check if it is time for new tires. All you must do is stick a penny into the groove of your tire tread with Abraham Lincoln’s head facing the grove. If you can see the top of Abe’s head- you need new tires.
The lifespan of a tire is hard to predict, which is why it’s important to properly maintain your tires and have them checked regularly by a trained service technician.