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Tire maintenance tips how to keep you and your car safe.

Guest Contributor November 07, 2017
A man tightening the lug nuts on a wheel of car.
Tire maintenance isn’t the most fun aspect of owning a car, but it doesn’t have to be a huge pain either. Neglecting your tires can not only cost you money because of accelerated wear, but it can also lead to unsafe driving conditions. Follow the tips below to ensure your safety and the safety of other drivers that share the road with you.

Inspect your tires.

It’s important to inspect your tires at least every couple of days –  if not every time you get into the car – especially if you do a lot of highway driving. You don’t always immediately notice when one of your tires gets damaged. Inspecting your tires regularly for wear or damage could mean avoiding potentially dangerous problems. It’s also a good idea to have a professional, like the technician at your dealership or local garage, inspect your tires every time you bring your car in for an oil change or service.

Check your pressure.

Check your tire pressure when tires are cool, like before you leave in the morning. You should consider investing in a high-quality tire pressure gauge so you can check your tires at home. A good quality gauge is also going to be more accurate than the one at the gas station.

Improperly inflated tires will wear unevenly and live a shorter life than tires inflated according to manufacturer specs. According to Goodyear Canada, “underinflation increases treadwear on the outer edges, and generates excessive heat, which can age tires faster.” Note that overinflating your tires isn’t any better – it will cause the centre of the tire to carry most of the car’s weight, which will cause uneven wear in the centre tread section.

When in doubt, refer to your owner’s manual or to the sticker on the driver’s side doorjamb, to find the recommended tire pressures for your vehicle.

Rotate your tires.

Regular tire rotation is especially important in front-wheel drive vehicles because the front wheels handle driving, steering and braking forces while the rear wheels only have to deal with braking forces. As a result, front tires wear faster since they carry much of the weight of the car at all times.

You should have your tires rotated as per the schedule in your owner’s manual.

If you notice uneven tire wear, ask your mechanic or service department professional to check your wheel alignment. Misalignment can cause a car to pull to one side or feel less planted on the road. It will also lead to much faster and uneven tire wear, sometimes in a matter of days. Your wheels can become misaligned simply from driving through poorly maintained roads or over some potholes. Did you know: Getting your wheels aligned is actually a bit of a misnomer, as it involves adjusting your vehicle’s suspension and steering components, rather than the wheels themselves.

Obey speed limits.

Speed limits are set for a reason. Driving at high speeds on public roads is very dangerous for several reasons. For one, your tires are more likely to be damaged by road hazards or heat build-up when you drive at high speeds. Also, high speeds can cause your tires to experience rapid air loss or even a sudden tire blowout, which could very well make you lose control of your car.

Respect the load capacity of your tires.

The last tip applies mostly to those of you who drive pickup trucks or regularly load their vehicles with heavy items. Be careful not to exceed the load capacity of your tires. Doing so could cause excessive heat build-up in your tires, which in turn may cause a blowout. For more information on your tires’ load and speed rating, check out CAA’s Tire Guide and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s online search tool.

By taking just a few preventive measures every now and then, you can optimize the life expectancy of your tires, decrease your fuel consumption and, above all, prevent any safety issues that might arise. For more advice and tips for your wheels, check out automotive blogs.