You spend a lot of money on your tires. Not only are they a big investment, they are also one of the most critical components of your vehicle in terms of performance and safety. The best way to protect yourself, your passengers, and your investment is by taking care of your tires. Proper tire maintenance will extend service life and keep them performing safely and at their best.
Here are five tips for getting the most from your tire investment:
- Check tire pressure regularly
Tire pressure that is under the recommended inflation level creates an added load on the shoulder of the tire, resulting in premature wear. Underinflated tires also generate internal heat which increases rolling resistance and ultimately reduces fuel economy. It is difficult to tell if tires are properly inflated by just looking at them, so it is essential that you use a tire gauge to check tire pressure. Check the pressure of all tires regularly, including the spare, and keep them inflated to the level recommended in your owner’s manual.
- Keep an eye on your tread wear
Tread wear is something we don’t think about looking at unless we are having problems or have driven through unavoidable road debris. Inspecting your tire tread regularly will help you to spot wear trends before they have done too much damage. In addition to looking at your tread, run your hand over it to feel for any problems, such as distortion in the tread, feathering or cupping. If addressed early enough, bad wear patterns can be often be corrected to save the tire.
- Check wheel and suspension components
Wheel and suspension components are often the hidden enemies of tire service life. An improperly torqued wheel bearing can cause irregular tire wear, or worn shock absorbers can create depression wear on treads. Replace shock absorbers and other suspension components on a regular schedule as preventative maintenance.
- Maintain proper vehicle alignment
Unusual tread wear is often the result of bad vehicle alignment. When a vehicle pulls to the right or left, the tires do not run straight ahead. This causes accelerated tread wear on specific parts of the tire. Regular alignment service will help you avoid premature tread wear as well as a host of other alignment related issues.
- Stay on schedule with tire rotation
Along with scheduled alignment service, make sure your tires are rotated on a regular basis. A consistent schedule of tire rotation will help to promote even tread wear and extend tire service life.