Rules of the Road - Tire Safety from your friends at Bob McDonald

Tire Safety

* Check Your Tire Inflation

Proper tire inflation is essential for safe driving and long tire life. It’s wise to check your tires’ air pressure at least once a month with an accurate tire pressure gauge. Be sure to check pressure while your tires are cold and have not been used recently. Even driving a mile will cause your tire pressure to increase and give you an inaccurate reading. A continuous loss of inflation pressure may indicate a possible tire or wheel assembly problem.

* Check Your Tire Tread

Bob McDonald Goodyear suggests you check your tire tread every 3,000 miles. Here are two simple tests:

Take the Penny Test: Simply insert a penny into your tire’s tread groove with Lincoln’s head upside down and facing you. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head, it’s time to replace your tires.

- OR -

Check the Tread Wear Indicator Bar: Located at the bottoms of the tread grooves in several locations around the tire. When a tire is so worn that these bars become visibly flush with the adjacent tread ribs, it’s time to replace the tire.

* Know What Certain Wear Patterns Mean

- Wear on both edges: UNDERINFLATION

Underinflation increases the tread wear on a tire’s outside edges and generates excessive heat reducing tire toughness. Soft tires also increases rolling resistance which reducing fuel economy.

- Wear in center: OVERINFLATION 

Overinflation increases wear on the center tread.

- Cups or dips in the tread: WORN PARTS

Cupping or dipping is most common on front tires, although rear tires can cup as well.

- Sawtooth edges: MISALIGNMENT

Misalignment causes erratic scrubbing against the road giving the tire’s edges a saw tooth or feathered appearance.

 

* Tire Balancing

If your tires are unbalanced, you'll notice vibration. This can lead to driver fatigue, premature or irregular tire wear and unnecessary wear to your vehicle's suspension. Your tires should be balanced when they are mounted on wheels for the first time or when they are remounted after repair. Check your tire balance at the first sign of vibration or shimmy.

* Vehicle Alignment

Your vehicle is properly aligned when all of its suspension and steering components are working smoothly and when its tire and wheel assemblies are running straight and true. If you notice uneven tread wear, it could be due to a misalignment and your vehicle should be serviced by a professional.

* Tire Rotation

While many people are knowledgeable enough to rotate their own tires, the procedure is especially quick and easy for a professional. Your vehicle's owner's manual will specify the proper rotation pattern and schedule for your vehicle. If no specific schedule is indicated, a good rule of thumb is to rotate your tires every 6,000 to 8,000 miles.

* Tire Repair

Tire repairs should be made by a trained tire professional. Proper repair procedure includes dismounting the tire from the wheel. This allows for thorough inspection of the tire for damage, as well as the use of a patch and plug to repair any punctures that fall within the guidelines for repair.