Tires need lovin’, too.
Tire maintenance is easy—and can improve mileage and safety
Hitting the road for a family trip this August? Be sure to check the condition of the tires on your family ride before heading off. Tires are the only part of your vehicle that actually touches the road– meaning that they’re vital to the proper operation of other systems like your brakes, stability control, traction assist and steering.
If your tires aren’t properly taken care of, you could be spending excessively on fuel, or even at risk of a dangerous accident. Thankfully, tire inspection and maintenance is easy, simple and quick. Most folks can do it right in their own driveway!
It’s vital to check your tire pressure about once a month– even if your vehicle has a built in Tire Pressure
Monitoring System. A check by hand will tell you if your tires are inflated to proper specifications, which you can find in your owner’s manual or on the tires themselves. If in doubt, call your dealership or favorite tire retailer for help.
Remember that under-inflated tires can wear out more quickly—wasting your hard earned money. Wear on an under-inflated tire is accelerated when a fully loaded vehicle is sitting on top of it, too. Translation? There are numerous good reasons to make sure your tires are in tip-top shape before that family trip.
Tires loose air naturally over time, so if you don’t remember your last pressure check, it’s probably overdue. Note that unless it’s virtually flat, it’s not possible to tell if a tire is under-inflated simply by looking at it. So—grab a tire pressure gauge and check for proper pressure when the tires are cold, inflating each one accordingly. Note that measuring pressure shortly after a drive will give an inaccurate result.
While you’re crouching to check tire pressure, check tread wear, too. Any signs of excessive wear on the inside or outside of the tire could indicate an alignment problem. If you’ve got wear indicators showing through the rubber, it’s time to get a new set of tires before your trip. Remember that worn and under-inflated tires are a safety hazard to you, your passengers and motorists nearby. They can also cause your vehicle to burn excessive fuel.
Bob Miron is the Director of Technical Marketing at Michelin. He comments “tires contribute significantly to a vehicle’s fuel consumption through their rolling resistance. The construction and materials used in the design of a tire greatly influence its rolling resistance. But maintaining the recommended inflation pressure is critical to obtain the best possible fuel economy from your vehicle as well”.
Where tires are concerned, remember that a little maintenance now could save money and headaches down the line. Stop by your dealership and ask for a quick check of your tires for proper pressure, rotation and wear ahead of a road-trip for extra peace of mind.