Whether you’re making a summer road trip or just running out to the grocery store, getting there safely relies on the health of your tires.
If you blow a tire you’ll have to change it on the side of the road or wait, stranded until someone comes and helps. Tire blowouts are a leading cause of accidents and can result in serious injury and harm to yourself, your passengers and other drivers.
Avoid these dangerous situations by simply checking the health of your tires on a regular basis. Here’s how:
1. Maintain proper tire pressure
Even the experts can’t judge tire pressure by taking a “look”. You need to use a tire pressure gauge to ensure tires are properly inflated. You should check your tire pressure regularly – at least once a month and you should get into the habit of checking tire pressure before you go on a long trip.
To determine the proper tire pressure for your vehicle you can consult your vehicle’s tire information placard, certification label or your owner’s manual.
2. Avoid road hazards that could puncture or harm your tires
It’s not always possible to see sharp objects on the road, and even if you see them it’s not always safe to swerve away but do your best to avoid running over large rocks or other hazards that sometimes litter the road. If you do run over something you should pull over as soon as possible to examine your tires and check your tire pressure.
3. Respect your vehicle’s load limits
Towing an RV trailer or boat? Check your vehicle’s owner manual to see what your car’s load limits are and make sure you don’t carry more weight than your tires or vehicle are designed to hold. Doing so can put too much pressure on your tires, damaging them in the process.
4. Inspect your tires for tread wear and damage
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration a tire can lose up to one-half of its inflation pressure without looking flat. Since you might not notice damage to your tire as soon as it happens it’s important to get into the habit of visually inspecting your tire for cuts, punctures, slashes, nails or other damage.
While inspecting your tires take a look at the tread. Look out for uneven wear including high, low and unusually smooth areas. You should replace your tires if your treads are worn down to 2/32 of an inch.
5. Rotate your tires regularly
Rotating your tires regularly will help you get the most out of your tires by ensuring a more uniform wear. It’s a good idea to have your tires rotated every 8,000 km.