8 Tire Safety Tips

November 22, 2011

Maintaining your vehicle’s tires is one of the easiest ways to stay safe on the road.

Here are 8 tire safety tips that will help keep you safe and maintain the life of your tires.

Tire Safety Tips #1: Check Tire Pressure Often

One of the leading causes of tire failure is underinflation. That’s pretty scary when you consider that according to the National Highway Traffic Association (NHTA) more than one-fourth of passenger car tires and almost one-third of light truck tires may be underinflated right now.¬†An underinflated tire can effect your vehicle’s handling, can cause premature tire wear, and can increase your overall fuel consumption.

Check your tire pressure at least once a month and before long trips to make sure it is properly inflated. But don’t overinflate your tires either. An overinflated tire can cause just as much premature wear as an underinflated tire.

Tire Safety Tip #2: Inspect for Wear and Damage

While your checking your tire pressure levels each month, take a moment to inspect your tire for wear and damage. Overtime even a properly inflated tire will lose tread, and minor tire punctures are not unusual.

If you find something unusual—like uneven tire wear or cracks in the sidewalls—take your car to a tire specialist immediately to have it checked out. They can advise on the proper course of action. Sometimes, if a minor puncture is found early enough, they can even repair the tire instead of replace it.

Tire Safety Tip #3: Rotate Tires Every 6,000 Miles

If you want to save money and get the most life out of your tires, you should have them rotated every 6,000 miles. Tire rotation is essential to achieve even tread wear and maximum tread life.

If your car is equipped with non-directional tires, the “cross-rotation pattern” is the best method for prolonging the life of your tires. Just have a professional switch the front-left tire with the right-rear and the front-right with the left-rear. It’s as simple as that, and many tire stores will rotate your tires for free if you bought the tires from them originally.

Tire Safety Tip #4: Don’t Overload Tires

Tires are designed to hold only so much weight as designated by the code on the tire sidewall. Believe it or not, overloaded tires are the second leading cause of tire failure after underinflation.

Make sure you never exceed the maximum load range for your tires by checking the label. It is usually printed next to the recommended tire pressure.

Tire Safety Tip #5: Maintain Proper Alignment

Misalignment of your steering and suspension not only effects the steering feel and stability of your vehicle. It can also lead to rapid, uneven tire wear. A misalignment can send you to the tire store long before a properly aligned vehicle would.

If you feel your steering pulling in one direction while traveling straight ahead on a flat road, or if you notice uneven tire wear, you should have a professional check your alignment.

Tire Safety Tip #6: Replace Tires When Needed

No matter how well you maintain your tires, you will eventually need to have them replaced. Here are a few indicators of a tire that needs to be replaced:

  • Visible “wear indicator bars”
  • Severally uneven tire wear
  • Cracks or bulges on the sidewall or tread
  • Unrepairable tire punctures
If you think your tires need to be replaced, take them in to a specialist immediately to have them inspected.

Tire Safety Tip #7: Choose the Right Tires

When you purchase a new set of tires, make sure you choose a set that is appropriate for the make, model, and year of your vehicle. In addition, be sure you have the right kind of tires for the type of driving you’ll be doing. “All-season” tires are OK, but nothing beats the performance and safety of a tire that’s designed for the elements. For example, if you do a lot of driving in ice and snow, consider purchasing tires that are made to handle well in those conditions.

Consult with your tire specialist to find the right set of tires for your vehicle.

Tire Safety Tip #8: Maintain the Proper Tire Balance

Out-of-balance tires can cause uneven tire wear, an extremely uncomfortable ride, and excessive wear on your suspension. If you’re noticing a severe thumping when approaching highway speeds, you most likely have an out-of-balance tire.

Get your vehicle into a tire specialist as soon as possible to have your tires dynamically balanced.

Maintaining your tires is a great way to keep you and your family safe on the road. All it requires is attentiveness, measurement, and occasional action. For more auto insurance tips, contact one of our local Cincinnati auto insurance agents.

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