How well do you take care of your tires?
If you care about your safety, and about saving money, it's important to understand how tires affect your vehicle's performance.
On average, there are nearly 11,000 tire-related motor vehicle crashes each year.
That's according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
To make matters worse, research shows, nearly 200 people will die in those crashes.
Safety is the number one concern when it comes to tire maintenance.
But, if your tires are underinflated, you're also costing yourself money.
The NHTSA says underinflated tires reduce your vehicle's fuel economy and increase the amount of greenhouse gases and other pollutants that fossil-fuel-burning vehicles put into the air.
Tire experts say if you keep your tires properly inflated, you can save you up to 9 cents per gallon.
Your tires will also last longer, as proper tire inflation can extend a tire's life by 4,700 miles
If you don't know much about basic tire maintenance, no need to worry.
TireWise is a great safety resource, so check it out here.
The NHTSA also offers the following top 5 Tire Maintenance Tips for safety and savings:
Tire Pressure: Proper tire pressure is the most important part of maintaining your tires. It affects safety, their durability, and your fuel consumption.
- Check the pressure of all tires, including your spare, at least once a month when the tires are "cold," meaning that the car hasn't been driven for at least three hours.
- Your tires' proper tire inflation pressure—measured in both kilopascals (kPA) and pounds per square inch (PSI or psi)—can be found on the Tire and Loading Information Label on the driver's side door edge or in your owner's manual. On new vehicles, the label will be located on the driver's side doorjamb, called a "B-pillar." If a vehicle does not have a B-pillar, then the label may be found on the rear-edge of the driver's door. If the vehicle does not have a B-pillar, and if the driver's door edge is too narrow, the label may be attached on an inward-facing surface next to the driver's seating position.
- Keep a tire pressure gauge in your vehicle. A tire can suddenly lose pressure if you drive over a pothole or bump into a curb when you park.
- Newer vehicles have Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems, but these only activate a warning when a tire is significantly underinflated. You should still conduct a monthly tire pressure check to ensure your tires are always properly inflated.
Tire Tread: Tire tread provides the gripping action and traction that prevents your car or truck from slipping and sliding, especially when the road is icy or wet. Tires are not safe and should be replaced when the tread is worn down to 2/32 of an inch.
- Check your tire's tread at least once a month when you're checking their pressure.
- Tires have built-in "treadwear indicators," which are raised sections that run in between the tire's tread. When the tread is worn down so that it's level with the tread indicator, it's time to replace your tires.
- You can also check your tread by placing a penny in the tread with Lincoln's head upside down and facing you. If you can see the top of Lincoln's head, replace your tires.
Balance And Alignment: Having your tires balanced and a wheel alignment performed by a qualified technician is important for the safety of your vehicle and to maximize the life of your tires.
- Tire balancing ensures your wheels rotate properly and don't cause the vehicle to shake or vibrate. New tires should always be balanced when installed.
- A wheel alignment maximizes the life of your tires and prevents your car from veering to the right or left when driving on a straight, level road.
Tire Rotation: Rotating your tires can help reduce irregular wear, which will help your tires last longer and maintain the fuel efficiency of your tires.
- Check your owner's manual for information on how frequently the tires on your vehicle should be rotated and the best pattern for rotation.
- If recommended by the vehicle manufacturer, rotate tires every 5,000 to 8,000 miles or sooner if uneven wear appears.
- For some vehicles, tire rotation is not recommended. If your front and rear tires are different sizes, you may not be able to rotate your tires. Check your owner's manual for guidance.
Tire Size: To maintain tire safety, purchase new tires that are the same size as the vehicle's original tires or another size recommended by the vehicle manufacturer.
- Check your owner's manual or the Tire and Loading Information Label located on the driver's side door edge or post to find the correct size for your car or truck.
- If you have any doubt about the correct size to choose, consult with the tire dealer. They can find the correct size tire for your vehicle.