Tire safety is often the last thing on everyone'sÂ minds and it's understandable why. With so many other worries that come with life in general, it normally doesn't even crack the top 5 of car maintenance worries. What's that clacking sound? Do I need new brake pads? When was the last time I got an oil change?
These are obviously all important to take care of as well, but many people forget how important it is to care forÂ their tires. It's the only thing that's making contact with the actual road, so here are a few tips to keep you safe.
Your tire tread needs to be a certain level of thickness, but a mere 19% of car owners are actually checking to make sure that it's within the limits. Thousands of accidents are caused each year by poorly maintained tires, but there is an easy (and fun!)Â way to check the thickness of your tread. If you take an upside-down penny and insert it into your tread, then Abraham Lincoln's face should be partially covered up.
If it's fully visible, then you need to replace your tires because they're too worn down. This is often easier to do than checking the traction indicators on the tire, which is theÂ small bar connecting the patterns on the tread. When that bar becomes level with the tread on your tires, then that's another sign to head out to your local tire shop.
You should be checking your tire pressure on a consistent basis, ideally about every month or so. On average, you'll get about 4,700 more miles out of your tires when you keep them inflated, plus you'll get more miles to the gallon. Oxygen is typically what will leak from your tires, which is why some retailers have started using nitrogen, and you can mix it with compressed air. It won't stop all leaks, but it can slow down deflation.Â Unfortunately, besides just looking to see if your tires are flat or not, there isn't a fun and easy way to check on this.
Tires lose pressure every day, and they'll lose more in warmer weather.Â Â You can find the inflation information on your tire placard, which is generally located in the driver's side door.Â Â You can also find it in your owner's manual. Use a gaugeÂ to test your pressureÂ on a regular basis. Test in the morning after your car has sat all night, and then compare the PSI to the numbers on your tire placard. Remember that you may have different pressure needs between the front and rear tires, depending on the make and model of your vehicle.
It only takes one stray object in the road to blow your tires, and it's not worth taking that kind of aÂ risk on a busy freeway or deserted country road with no cell phone service. It may be the last thing that you want to add to your already very busy day, but you'll be glad that you took this precaution.Â Stay confident on the road when you practice safe driving habits.
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