As we all go tooling down the two lane, we tend to remain totally oblivious to how important tire care is to our safety and well-being. Things so rarely go wrong.
That is because the technology and quality of tire manufacturing is so good that they can accommodate a tremendous amount of neglect.
Tire care has many elements to it, some more important than others but attention to all the important facets can really make a difference both in operating costs and safety.
The most important day-to-day factor in tire care is ensuring that the tires are inflated to the correct pressure while they are cold.
If your tires are too hard, they will tend to ride on the center of the tread and the contact patch with the roadway will be smaller. When this occurs, the tires don’t hold the road as well in stopping or turning. If the pressure is too low, the tires tend to ride on both outsides of the tire and the contact patch doesn’t include the center of the tire. As a result, the tires can squirm and handle and stop poorly.
In addition, incorrect tire pressure can cause rapid and uneven tire wear.
Tires run under-inflated for any period of time, develop weakened side walls which can cause tire sidewall failure. Very scary.
A small compressor that can be powered by your car costs $30.00 or less and good tire pressure gauge might be about $10.00. These will allow you to check your tires cold and adjust them right in your driveway. Do this at least monthly.
Tire Type and Size
The car you drive was designed for a specific type and size of tire. Changes can cause issues too. Larger tires might interfere with the car body or suspension and affect speedometer accuracy. Smaller tires might not fit the rims correctly and the tire might not be able to make good contact with the road.
In addition, tires have a speed and load rating stamped on them. While you can generally increase these in the stock tire size, don’t go down to a lower rated tire.
Don’t change types of tires either. If you care was made with radial tires, use radial tires. Never, mix tires on a vehicle as the results can be unpredictable.
Most people don’t realize that the manufacture date of a tire is stamped on it next to the DOT oval on the tire. Look for it next time you check your tires. It will show the week and year of manufacture. Tires are generally safe for 7 years from the date of manufacture. After that,, weathering can have serious effects on the side walls of your tires and fail without notice.
If you take a look at your tires when you are checking your tire pressure, you can see “checking” on the sidewall if the tire is older. Minor checking of the surface of the rubber is okay, but if you can see tire fabric underneath, it is time for replacement.
We drive down the road at pretty high-speed at times. A controlled flat on a rear tire will get your heart pumping a bit. An uncontrolled blow out of a front tire, on the other hand, can be terrifying and life threatening.
Follow these tips and stay safe!