Be Safe, Not Sorry!
Tire maintenance is extremely important. Remember tires are made primarily from oil. Because oil constantly adjusts to climate and road conditions, it makes sense to follow these practices and considerations:
INSPECTIONS – To ensure maximum tire life and safety, visually inspect at least once a month and before long trips at the same time you check pressures. If you detect any of these conditions, take the vehicle in for further diagnosis immediately:
- Excessive or uneven tread wear, which may indicate improper inflation or steering and suspension misalignment;
- Cracks or bulges on the sidewalls or tread;
- Chunking of the tread or any indication of tread separation from the carcass;
- Signs of puncture, or nails, screws, glass, or pieces of stone imbedded in the tire.
PRESSURE – Under inflation has immediate effects on vehicle handling (as well as fuel consumption), but its potential impact on overall safety and tire life are even greater.
That’s why it is imperative to check and adjust tire pressure at least once a month and before every long trip (over 250 miles). Recommended pressures are printed on a label located on the driver’s doorframe or in the glove box. Using nitrogen will enhance the life of your tires and handling as well as slows the process down for air loss.
ROTATION– is essential to even tread wear and maximum tread life.
A “cross-rotation pattern”—that is, moving the left-front tire to the right-rear axle, the right-front tire to the left-rear axle, etc.—can best balance tread wear and maximize tire life. That sequence can be performed on any vehicle equipped with four non-unidirectional tires. Designated by an arrow on the sidewall, unidirectional tires must be rotated only front to rear and rear to front, on the same side of the vehicle, so their direction of revolution does not change. All-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive vehicles are best suited to a lateral rotation—left to right and right to left—at the same end of the vehicle.
BALANCING – Out-of-balance tires can not only cause uneven tread wear and an uncomfortable ride but also excessive wear on the suspension and other components. It can be detected by a severe thumping, usually most pronounced at highway speeds.
An experienced technician can determine which tire is out-of-balance by driving the car. Tire balancing involves placing weights in appropriate places on the bead or inner circumference of the wheel. Tires should always be balanced when first installed, and whenever they are remounted.
ALIGNMENT – Misalignment of the steering and suspension, either front or rear, can not only adversely affect the steering feel and stability of a vehicle, but also cause rapid and uneven tire wear. If not corrected, this misalignment can ruin a tire in a short time and distance.
If you feel the steering “pulling” in one direction or another when traveling straight ahead on a flat road with no crosswind, or if you notice uneven wear on the tires, particularly front tires, you should have the alignment checked and adjusted as soon as possible.