Without a doubt, your car depends on the condition of your tires. Regular maintenance and some tire ‘know-how’ will go a long way in ensuring that your tires have a long life.
There are four tire maintenance and care guidelines that every driver should know:
Maintaining the proper air pressure:
You should check the pressure of your car’s tires about once a month, and before making any long trips. Always make sure that your tires are inflated to the level recommended by your vehicle’s manufacturer. This number can often be found in your car’s owner’s manual, and in a label on one of three other places:
- Your driver’s side door jamb
- Inside the fuel hatch
- On the door of your glove compartment
Check your tire pressure with a reliable gauge (the ones provided at some gas stations are used so often that they most likely don’t give an accurate reading). You should also always check your tires when they have been resting for at least three hours. If you do need to drive to a gas station to fill your tires, you should try to drive your car for less than one mile.
Regular tire rotations:
In order for tires to get even wear, they need to be rotated occasionally. When a tire rotation is performed, your tires will be taken off of your vehicle and moved to a different position on the car.
In some cases, your car’s owner’s manual will give a recommendation for how often a rotation should occur. If it does not, it is generally suggested that this task be performed every 6,000 to 8,000 miles.
Keep the correct alignment:
The alignment of your car can be distorted slightly by such everyday activities as driving over a pothole, or accidentally hitting a curb. Because of this, it’s important to get your suspension readjusted occasionally. Make sure to have your alignment checked when your car is at the shop, and if you know that you have hit something that resulted in misalignment.
Ensure the wheels are balanced:
Another factor that is critical in maintaining equal wear and tear on all of your car’s tires of the balance of your wheels. When you purchase or replace your tires, or when a weight is moved or removed, your balance should be checked by a capable mechanic.
Also make sure to check your balance if you feel any vibration, or if you notice that your tires have signs of uneven wear.
There are also a few driving habits that you can develop that will help your tires last longer:
- Driving at high speeds will generate excessive heat in your tires. This increases the rate of wear in your tires, and decreases their durability, so follow the posted speed limits.
- Do your best to avoid curbs, medians, and potholes while driving.
- Be gentle when you drive – don’t start or stop quickly if you can avoid it, and take turns at a reasonable speed.
For more information about how to keep your car at tip-top shape, follow Vargas and Vargas Insurance‘s Boston Insurance Blog. There are often posts about car maintenance, safe driving, and the importance of a great auto insurance policy.
Photo credit: GeorgInfanger / Foter / CC BY-SA