As the only point of contact between the road and your car, tires have a big impact on a vehicle’s overall health, handling, and safety. They influence your turn control, ability to break, and even how smooth your ride is.
Here are 3 simple things you can do to ensure your tires are in optimal driving condition and help them to last as long as possible:
Tires can lose up to one pound per square inch (psi) of air every month. Most experts recommend checking all tires, including your spare, about once a month and more often during colder weather. Most auto shops offer free tire pressure checks, and will often refill them to the proper levels if they’re too low.
If you’re testing at home, you should always test tires “cold.” This means before driving or three hours after you’ve driven, with a trusted pressure gauge. Reference the sticker inside the driver’s door of your car, or your owners manual, to find the optimal pressure levels for your vehicle. Maintaining the manufacturer recommended tire pressure helps to prevent damage and achieve a better gas mileage.
Tread is the grooved rubber on the tire that makes contact with the road. As tires are used, the tread is worn down, limiting its traction and making punctures more likely. Tires with low tread depth or uneven wear can also contribute poor braking and lack of control, especially in icy conditions, while neglecting leaks and punctures can lead to long-term gas mileage decreases and added strain on the tire. Treads should be visually inspected regularly and professionally checked about once a year for uneven or irregular wear (like the photo above), as well as cuts, punctures, and bruises along sidewalls.
If a tire is worn or damaged, it should be replaced as soon as possible to avoid a costly blowout.
Each tire on a car wears at a different rate. Front wheels tend to wear faster from steering than the rear wheels, which simply follow, but your turning and braking habits can also impact how fast each tire wears. By moving tires around every few months to equalize wear, a simple rotation can extend the life of all your tires by several thousand miles. Most mechanics recommend rotating tires every 6,000 to 8,000 miles to promote uniform tire wear.
Uneven wear can also indicate an alignment problem, so most experts recommend having your alignment checked at least once a year. If your tires are wearing unevenly and your vehicle starts to shakes or pulls to one side, you should have your mechanic check for an alignment issue.
At V&F Auto, we offer:
Our expert mechanics can help you choose the right tire type for your price point, driving habits, and most common driving conditions. Right now we’re offering a free tire rotation with your next oil change, now through November 30th! Call us at (413)314-2280 to make an appointment or schedule an appointment online.