The tires are the only link between your vehicle and the road- making them a very important feature of the car. Keeping up with tire maintenance is just as important as engine maintenance.
We all know that a new set of tires- though important -can be a hefty investment. Like the life of your car, you want your tires to work as good as they can for as long as they possibly can. Follow these four tips to maintain your safety on the road, improve your ride, and extend your tires’ life to get the most miles out of them as possible:
Check the Tire Pressure Monthly
Maintaining the correct air pressure is a simple and important step in extending the life of your tires. When your tire pressure is low it can increase wear and tear on the tire and heighten the risk of a blowout. The wrong air pressure also causes sluggish handling and increases your stopping distance.
Tires lose about a pound per square inch (psi) of pressure monthly and should be checked and corrected accordingly. Tire pressure is affected in the winter when colder temperatures lower air pressure, and in the summer when warm weather increases the air pressure. During these months, it is especially important to watch your tire pressure.
Not only will maintaining the tire pressure save you money by extending the life of your tire, it will also improve your fuel efficiency- keeping money in your pockets. Underinflated tires result in you getting fewer miles to the gallon and paying for more gas than you need to. In fact, you can improve your gas mileage by up to 3.3 percent by keeping your tires inflated to the proper psi, according to www.fueleconomy.gov.
Correct tire pressure affects vehicle safety as well. According to a National Highway Transportation Safety Administration Crash Causation Survey, tire issues were involved in one out of 11 crashes.
Have Your Tires Rotated Every 6,000 Miles to Promote Even Wear
Most vehicles only use one or two wheels to “drive” it at a time resulting in uneven tire wear. As an example, with front-wheel drive vehicles, the front tires wear faster. With rear-wheel drive vehicles, the back tires will wear faster. All-wheel drive vehicles can experience uneven wear as well due to the fact that most shift the drive from one wheel to another. So, they are not exempt from the need for tire rotation. Having a technician rotate your tires by moving them to different wheel positions on the vehicle to give drive wheels a rest and even out wear will prolong the life of your tires.
Make Sure the Wheels are Balanced
Each wheel and tire have heavy spots. Even when brand new, they are not 100 percent perfect. The differences are slight-measured in quarter to half ounces- yet that difference can cause vehicle vibration and uneven tire wear. A technician can balance the wheels using a special machine and small weights. As a tire wears the weight may need to move or be changed. The process is quick and easy, and it costs much less than new tires. The perfect time to have your wheels balanced is when you are having the tires rotated.
Have the Alignment Checked Twice a Year
When your tires are not properly aligned it may make your “toed-in” (pigeon-toed) or “toed-out” (duck-footed). If you notice your vehicle actively pulling or drifting to the left or right, or the steering wheel shakes and/or vibrates, you may have a problem with your alignment. However, your vehicle could be driving normally and still be slightly out of alignment. Even the slightest misalignment can increase tread wear and reduce your fuel efficiency. Bumping into parking lot barriers or the curb, and hitting potholes can all negatively impact your alignment. Have your alignment checked every six months, or sooner if you feel something is off.
Showing your tires a little TLC can help save you a lot of money. By following these inexpensive, easy tire maintenance tips you can prolong the life of your tires. Also, you will notice an increase in gas mileage, extend the life of your vehicle, and make your drive safer.
We hope you find this quick guide to getting the most miles out of your tires helpful. For high-quality auto repair services, give the experts at Virginia Auto Service a try. Call (602) 266-0200 or schedule an appointment online today for quality care and information to help keep your vehicle performing at its best.