There’s a fine line between good tire traction and losing control while driving. Accidents happen in the blink of an eye, especially when your tire tread is worn down or you pick up a nail driving down your street. From tire tread to tire alignment, many factors come together to ensure a safe – or not so safe – driving experience. Being a proactive vehicle owner is key.
Tire Safety Checklist
Check out this tire safety checklist to keep you safe on the roadways.
- Check Your Tire Pressure: You should always be within two or three PSI of your car’s specifications, which can be found in your owner’s manual or on the sticker on the inside of the driver’s door. Every time you fill up with gas, check the tire pressure and make any necessary corrections.
- Ensure Sufficient Tread: Place a penny between the tread blocks, with Lincoln’s head pointed down. If you see that the top of his head is covered, you have at least 2/32nds of an inch of remaining tread. If the top of his head is visible above the tread, you need to replace your tires because the tread is unsafe.
- Be on the Lookout for Even Tread Wear: Inspect your tires regularly for even tread depths. Get the tires rotated every 6-8,000 miles. If one tire seems to be wearing down faster than the others, take it to a mechanic.
- Patch Up Leaks: Regularly add air to your tires as needed, and make sure any leaks are patched correctly by a professional.
- Replace Damaged Tires: From bubbles to slices to foreign objects sticking out, keep an eye out for this type of damage. You cannot fix a sidewall leak, and leaving a bubble or cut can lead to a blowout when driving.
- Don’t Drive on a Flat Tire: Even if you go slowly and only travel a short distance, damage can occur to the tire itself and the rims.
- Replace Spares: If you have a flat tire and put on the spare, this should only give you time to get to a mechanic (no more than 50 miles). Don’t drive on a spare for any length of time.
- Plug Your Tires: Plug-patch repairs are best, which are procedures performed on the inside of the tire. When done properly by a professional, this type of repair is completely safe. Tire plug kits from the hardware store are not approved repairs for long-term use. They should only be used in emergency situations, if at all. Always get a proper repair as soon as possible.
Sure, tire problems and even maintenance tasks can be inconvenient. However, being diligent about them now will save you time, money and headaches later on.