Tires are one of the most important safety features of any car, yet most drivers take them for granted. Regardless of how comfortable or safe car makers intend for our cars to be, the tires are the only part of the car that come in contact with the road. Any sort of tire problems nullifies features that are intended to provide safety or a smooth ride. The tips below will help you to keep your tires in optimal condition for safety.
Monitor your tire pressure. Through normal use, tires lose air. Keep a tire gauge in your glove box. Digital tire pressure gauges are inexpensive and simple to use. Make a habit of checking your tires regularly and before long car trips. Only check tire pressure before you go out when the car has been sitting for at least a few hours. Friction with the road causes heat which in turn affects tire pressure so if you check your tire pressure right after driving, you will not get an accurate reading. The proper tire pressure will be stated in the owner's manual. Tires that are underinflated can cause problems such as fuel inefficiency and the overheating of your tires which puts you at risk of tire failure.
Remember to check your spare tire as well. If you experience a blowout or a flat tire and only then find out that your spare tire is useless, you are going to be in for a lot of aggravation and wasted time. Maintain your spare the same way you do your other tires. Check its pressure regularly and make sure you have the tools you need to replace a tire in the event of a failure or a flat.
Inspect your tire tread. Two things you should look at are wear patterns and the depth of your tread. Visually inspect the edges of your tires looking for uneven wear which could indicate that your wheels are not properly aligned. Improper alignment leads to poor handling and shortens tire life so if you see uneven wear patterns, have your alignment checked. Check the depth of your tire treads by inserting a penny upside down into the grooves. If you can see all of Abraham Lincoln's head, it is probably time to get a new set of tires.
Check for tire damage. While you are checking your tire pressure, you can also very easily look for cuts, bubbles, cracks or punctures on the sidewalls. Such damage may necessitate your tires being replaced.
While driving, be aware of any tendency to pull to one direction or any vibrations you feel. If you hit a pothole, get in an accident or jump a curb pay special attention. You may need to get your tires balanced, which is important for the overall safety and stability of your car.
If your tires are subject to extreme weather, consider specialty tires. Most cars are equipped with all season tires which are usually adequate, but rarely excel in rougher conditions. Snow tires in Winter and performance tires in arid climates can significantly improve handling, performance and overall safety.
Replace worn or damaged tires as soon as possible. It does no good to monitor the health of your tires if you do not take action when you discover an issue. Dependable tires are important for safety so do not wait to replace them. Other features that could save your life or help you avoid an accident like state of the art active suspension systems and anti-lock brakes rely on having all four tires in good condition. Take good care of your tires and they will take good care of you.