Your tires go through a lot. Potholes, nails, weather and more can all put severe wear and tear on them. This means that you should be regularly checking on your tires to make sure they are still up to the job. Main Auto Body, Inc. is here to help show you what you should be looking for when inspecting your tires with this tire safety checklist.
Check the Pressure
First up is tire pressure, which when too low can hurt your fuel efficiency and stopping distance. While your car may be equipped with a tire pressure maintenance system, you should still check the pressure of your tires at least once a month. The correct pressure for your tires can be found either on a placard on the interior of the driver’s door or in the owner’s manual. Make sure you have not driven for too long immediately before filling your tires with air. When tires are hot after being used, it can lead to inflated psi numbers, which will leave them under-filled. Instead, try to head to a filling station after a period of inactivity.
Don’t Tread Lightly
Another vital part of your tires’ health is the tread. The tread pattern and depth delivers traction on the road to allow controlled turns and acceleration. Make sure to check your tires for the correct depth and see where there is wear on each tire. The location of wear on a tire can help you figure out a solution to limit further damage. Here are a few common places where excessive wear is found.
- Middle of the tire: This can mean your tires are overinflated, causing the middle to be in contact with the road more than the sides.
- Side of the tire: Contrary to above, this can mean your tires are underinflated and the edges are bearing most of the load.
- On one edge only: This can indicate that your wheels are out of alignment and one side is being favored over the other.
- Erratic: If there is no clear wear pattern, the tire could be out of balance and not making consistent contact with the road.
If you find any of these abnormal wear patterns on your tires, take action. The first two can be solved by bringing your tires to the correct air pressure, while the latter two should be taken to a professional for an alignment or balancing. An alignment will adjust the angles of your tires so they have even contact with the road. This will help prevent unnecessary wear that would cause you to replace your tires earlier than expected, as well as stop your vehicle from veering to the left or right while driving.
The Penny Test
As your tires go through normal wear and tear, the depth of their tread shrinks. This can impact your tires’ ability to grip the road and shed water. To check if your tires have enough tread left, there is a simple trick to use. Insert a penny into the groove of your tire with Abraham Lincoln’s head facing down. If you can see above the top of his head, then your tire tread is less than 2/32nd of an inch, and is below the legal limit for wear. At this point, you’ll have to buy a new set of tires. If his entire head is not visible, then you’re all set.
Switch it Up
Due to the weight distribution of your vehicle, uneven wear between the four tires is unavoidable. To solve this issue, a tire rotation is required. A tire rotation is when the front and back wheels are swapped with each other to prevent irregular wear. This should be done at an auto shop after every 5,000 to 7,000 miles you drive.
Stay on the Move
Now that you know how to keep your tires healthy with this tire safety checklist, make sure to monitor them about once a month. If you find something wrong, then reach out to a professional service with experience and expertise to fix the issue. Main Auto Body, Inc. has nine convenient locations for you to use to get rolling again.