While, eventually, buying new tires is inevitable, there are several actions you can take to maintain your tires’ integrity and performance once you have them.
1. CHECKING YOUR TIRE PRESSURE
Proper tire pressure is key for improved handling, safer driving, and better fuel efficiency. According to the Department of Energy, properly inflated tires improve your fuel economy by approximately 2-3%. In addition, tire wear and helps prevent tire failures that could lead to accidents. Use the following steps to check your tire pressure:
- Obtain an air pressure gauge, which can be purchased at your local shopping mart, gas station or auto parts store.
- Wait until your tires are cool to check the pressure—do attempt to check your tires immediately after driving.
- Find the required air pressure level, which is known as “PSI” (pounds per square inch). You can find the recommended PSI by looking at the writing on the side of your tires. This information is also found on this inside door on the driver side, as well as in the owner's manual.
- Unscrew the valve stem, which is the cap located near the hubcap.
- Press the air pressure gauge onto the valve and read the number that appears on the measuring tool (note: You will only need to hold it to the tire stem for a do this for a second or two to get an accurate reading.
- Once you have a reading, you can compare that PSI number with the specified amount specified by your tire manufacturer (noted in step “c”) and determine whether or not you need to add air to your tires.
- Per the Department of Transportation, tires lose about 1 PSI of pressure each month, so it is important to check them regularly. Real Deal Tires (RDT) recommends that you check your pressure at least once a month and twice a month in the colder seasons.
2. ROTATING TIRES
Rotating your tires means moving them from their current position (from front to back, left to right, etc.) and it is one of the most important tasks for extending the life of your tire. This is because all tires wear differently depending upon their position on the car, so rotating them periodically helps to ensure the wear is distributed evenly.
Reversing, parking, making U-turns, stopping and accelerating can all affect the front and rear tires in a unique way, putting unique stresses on each of them. Rotating helps balances these stresses and improve the tread life of your tires.
Real Deal Tires (RDT) recommends that rotate your tires is every other oil change, or roughly every 6,000 miles.
3. BALANCING YOUR TIRES
Balancing your tires ensures that the combined wheel and tire weight is evenly distributed. Like rotating, balancing is important to extend the life of your tires, as well as improve the overall safety of your vehicle.
Signs that indicate that your tires may need balancing include pulling to one side, uneven tread wear and/or vibrations while driving. If you see or experience any of these, it may be time to speak with a professional about checking your tire balance.
Ultimately, once your tire balance is corrected, you should benefit from having a smoother ride, as well as prolong your tires’ life span.