Good automotive tires are one of the most critical components in driving safety. New tires, properly inflated can make the difference in an emergency. Proper wheel alignment, good tire treads, regular tire rotation and high-quality tires all work together to improve gas mileage, handling, braking and the overall safety of your automobile.
Considering that the tires are the only parts of the car that actually maintain contact with the surface of the road, they’re actually four of the most important safety features on your car – or five if we count the spare!
When you are thinking about your tires, here are a few things to keep in mind:
Overloaded – When tires are overloaded they are inflated beyond the manufacturer’s recommended air pressure. This varies by vehicle, so check the door jam of your vehicle for information on the proper air pressure for your car’s tires.
Under-inflated – Under-inflated tires have less than the recommended air pressure. Keeping your tires properly inflated is an easy way to improve gas mileage.
Old/Worn tires – Tires with less than 4/32” tread left should be replaced. Tires may wear unevenly so inspect all surfaces thoroughly. Most manufacturers recommend replacement after 6 years regardless of wear or mileage. Many tire centers won’t even service tires that are over 10 years old.
Different tires for different driving conditions –
° All-season tires provide better traction in winter, but can’t manage the heat created in high speed driving.
° Passenger car tires may not be able to bear the load of a pick up truck that hauls.
° Summer/dry performance, or ultra-high performance tires, won’t grip on snowy or icy roads and they’re not designed to drive in temperatures below 45* F because the rubber hardens, decreasing flexibility.
The Spare Tire – The spare tire is your lifesaver when a tire goes flat. Don’t skimp on this piece of safety equipment. Invest in a full-sized spare and have it checked by your mechanic when you have your tires rotated.
The list above is a short introduction to your vehicle’s tires. Take the time to get to know your tires and consult your mechanic with any questions along the way.
Ensuring that your tires are in good condition keeps you and your family safer on the road, saves you money with better gas mileage and improves your overall ride.