When the Rubber Hits the Road: National Tire Safety Week
By: Good2GoPublished: June 2, 2014
Your tires are what separate your vehicle from the road, and if you aren’t taking proper care of them, you could be endangering your life and the lives of others. That’s why the Rubber Manufacturer’s Association (RMA) created National Tire Safety Week to educate drivers on tire maintenance and safety.
National Tire Safety Week
National Tire Safety Week, celebrated from June 1 – 7, originated as an opportunity for the tire industry to focus on educating motorists about the importance of proper tire care. For a safe driving experience, regular tire maintenance is critical as it helps with fuel efficiency and extends the life of your tire tread. If you neglect your tires, you could be at risk of losing control of your vehicle due to lack of tread or worse – encounter a tire blowout on a busy highway. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly 11,000 tire-related crashes occur every year, with an estimated 200 people dying in those crashes. Many of these could have been avoided through proper tire maintenance.
Tire Safety Tips
It’s important that you understand how tires affect your car’s performance. Here are some safety tips for proper tire care and maintenance.
Check your tire pressure
Tire pressure affects the durability of your tires, your fuel intake, and the overall safety of your vehicle. Underinflated tires can lead to tire wear and overinflated tires can result in suspension problems or even a blowout. You should check the pressure of all of your tires – even the spare – at least once a month.
To determine the proper inflation pressure, check the tire and loading information in your vehicle’s owner’s manual. This information may also be located on the vehicle door edge, the glove box or the fuel door. Use an accurate tire gauge and make sure your tires are “cold,” meaning it has been sitting for at least three hours. Add or release air from the tire until the pressure matches the recommended levels. If your tires are recommended to be inflated to 32psi, don’t inflate them to 40psi “just to be sure”. Over inflation is as big a problem as underinflation.
Beware of balance issues
This part of tire maintenance will require a trained mechanic or technician. Tire balance and wheel alignment can help maximize the life of your tires. It ensures that your wheels rotate properly and prevents your car from veering left or right when you are driving straight. When you get new tires installed, they should always be balanced.
Don’t forget about tire tread
Similar to tire pressure, you should check the tread of your tires at least once a month. You can do this the same time you check the pressure. Tire tread provides traction and grip to the road, preventing your vehicle from slipping and sliding. This is especially important when the roads are wet or icy.
Tires should be replaced when the tread is worn down to 2/32 of an inch. At this point, tires begin to bald or no longer have any tread. Most tires now have treadwear indicators molded into the tire. When the tread is worn down so that it’s on the same level as the tread indicator, it’s time to replace them. Another trick involves inserting a penny into the tread with Lincoln’s head upside down. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head, it’s time for new tires.
Rotate your tires
Tire rotation not only helps maintain fuel efficiency, it also helps reduce irregular wear and tear on your tires, allowing them to last longer. Most manufacturers recommend that you rotate your tires every 5,000 to 10,000 miles – around the time when you should be taking your car in for an oil change. Be sure to check your owner’s manual for specific details on when you should rotate your tires as some car manufacturers have different guidelines.
Buy the right tire for your driving needs
If it’s time for you to purchase new tires, make sure that you buy the exact same size as your originals or a size recommended by your car’s manufacturer. Check your owner’s manual or the Tire and Loading Information Label to find the right size for your car. Consult with your dealer if you’re having second thoughts about tire sizes.
You will also want to make sure you are buying the right type of tires. Depending on your climate or terrain, some tires may be better than others. For example, all-season tires can handle a variety of road conditions such as mud and snow, but winter tires will be more effective in handling deep snow and wintery conditions.
Poor tire maintenance can lead to a variety of safety issues that can be easily avoided. Reduce your risk with these safety tips and spread the word to other drivers during National Tire Safety Week.
Protect yourself affordably with Good2Go.com auto insurance. Get a cheap car insurance quote today.