Tire Care Tips
June 30th, 2016
A set of new tires will set you back a pretty fair amount of change, but too often people take their tires for granted. That's a mistake, considering that the tires are your direct point of contact with the road and have everything to do with your vehicle's handling, ride quality, braking and road manners. Here are a few tips to keep those tires lasting longer:
Check your inflation regularly. Low tire pressure means more rolling resistance and friction, which translates to more energy spent to keep your vehicle rolling down the road and poorer fuel economy. That added friction also means heat buildup, which is the enemy of any tire. Get a reliable tire gauge and check your inflation levels once a month or so. Remember, underinflated tires also wear out prematurely and are in danger of failing, and tire warranties do not cover this type of tire wear.
Rotate your tires. No vehicle has 50/50 weight distribution from front to rear, due to the weight of the engine. Front tires also wear differently thanks to the stresses of braking and cornering forces. That's why tires should be rotated front-to-rear or diagonally every 5,000 miles or so, to ensure even wear. Again, tire warranties mandate regular tire rotations.
Check your alignment. If you've noticed a change in your vehicle's drivability...a pull to one side, steering that feels "heavy" or clumsy or a steering wheel that no longer centers itself quickly after rounding a corner...you may be in need of a wheel alignment. When wheel alignment angles are skewed due to a hit on a curb or pothole, that tire will wear along the inside or outside edge long before the other tires wear down.
Inspect your tires. Run your hand over the tread from time to time and feel for a "sawtooth" pattern or any other irregularities. Check for glass, nails or other foreign objects in the tread. Inspect the sidewalls for cracks or bulges. States require a minimum tread depth of 2/32", so take a penny and stick it in the tread grooves. If the tread reaches Lincoln's head, that's a 2/32" depth. Try again with a quarter -- does the tread reach Washington's head? That means your tires are at 4/32". One more time with the penny...if the tread reaches the Lincoln Memorial, your tires are at 6/32" depth.
Many experts now say that tires should be replaced every six years, regardless of the number of miles on them -- the elements, ozone and the sun's UV rays can dry out and degrade the tires' rubber compound. Don't take them for granted -- make an appointment with us at JBC Tire Complete Auto Care in Nixa, MO if you have any doubts or questions about your tires!