New reports show that 60 percent of Americans have no idea how to change a flat tire on their car.
In addition to lacking basic tire repair skills, many people also lack basic knowledge of good tire maintenance practices.
Do you know how often you should rotate your tires? How often you need to replace them altogether?
If you’re part of the group that knows very little about maintaining their car tires, you’ve come to the right place.
Read on to learn more about basic tire maintenance that will extend the lifespan of your tires and keep your car running smoothly.
Why Maintenance Matters
Tire maintenance might seem like a nuisance at first. In reality, though, it actually provides a lot of benefits to you as a driver. Some of the greatest benefits of regular tire maintenance include:
- Reduced risk of breakdowns
- Extended tire lifespan
- Reduced fuel expenses
This last point is especially beneficial to a lot of people. The average American already uses 656 gallons of gas every year — who wants to pay for more than that?
Top Tire Maintenance Tips
Okay, you get it. Tire maintenance matters.
What kind of tire maintenance practices should you be implementing, though? How do you take good care of your tires?
Listed below are some essential tire maintenance techniques that every car owner ought to know:
Keep Them Inflated
Make sure your tires are always well-inflated. If they have too much air in them or not enough, you’ll experience difficulties accelerating, braking, and steering.
Check your tire pressure on a monthly basis (if not more often). Remember to check the pressure when the tires are cold (i.e., before you’ve driven).
Before you check the pressure, be sure to find the proper pressure for your front and rear tires. This should be listed on a sticker on the front or back door of the driver’s side of your car and in your owner’s manual.
You should have your tires rotated on a regular basis, too. As a general rule of thumb, you should have your tires rotated once every six months or once every 10,000-12,000 km.
After you have your tires rotated, set a reminder for yourself on your phone six months from that date. That way, you won’t forget to bring them in and have them rotated again.
Get Regular Wheel Alignments
In addition to having your tires rotated, be sure to have your wheels aligned on a regular basis. Get your wheels aligned once a year or once every 25,000 km. This will help to ensure even tread wear.
Make sure you’re inspecting your tires regularly, too.
Once a month or so, take a look at each of the tires and check for potential issues like cracks, bulges, or uneven tread wear.
Check for items that might be lodged in the tires or potential punctures as well.
Don’t Mix and Match
It may be tempting to mix and match tires by buying two at one time and two a few months later. This can be a cost-effective option initially. But, it doesn’t really save you money in the long-run.
Mixing and matching your tires results in uneven wear and tear.
This, in turn, could lead to a need for more frequent replacement. It could also result in expensive mechanical issues, something no driver wants to experience.
Repair Punctures Properly
If your tire does sustain a puncture, be sure to repair it properly. If you don’t know how to fix a tire puncture, don’t try to learn on the spot.
Take your car to a mechanic and let a professional handle it. You can also ask them to show you how so that you’re able to take care of future issues yourself.
Store Spares Properly
Make sure you’re storing your spare tire properly, too. That way, if you get a flat and need to change the tire, you can feel confident knowing you’re putting on a new tire that’s in good condition.
Make sure your spare tire is clean and free of grease, gasoline, or anything that could cause the rubber to deteriorate.
Store your tire in a clean, dark, and cool place if you’re storing it outside of the car. Make sure it’s raised off the ground, too, to avoid moisture buildup.
Don’t Overload Them
Make sure you’re not putting too much weight on your tires on a regular basis. Avoid overloading the car as much as possible, especially if you’re getting ready to take it on a long drive.
Check Tread Depth Regularly
Monitor your tread depth and make sure your tires are wearing evenly.
To make sure your tread is deep enough to drive safely, do the penny test. Insert a penny into the tread of the tire with Lincoln’s head pointing down toward the tire.
If, when you insert the penny, the top of Lincoln’s head is visible, that means it’s time to have your tires replaced.
Replace as Needed
Finally, remember to replace your tires when they start showing significant signs of wear and tear.
If they fail the penny test, that’s a good sign that a replacement is necessary.
Check for other signs, too, such as your car shaking while you drive it, bulges or blisters in the tires, or the presence of cracks in the sidewalls.
Beyond Tire Maintenance
As you can see, there’s a lot you can do as far as tire maintenance is concerned that will help you keep your tires in good shape and ensure they last as long as possible.
Keep these maintenance tips in mind and you’ll be able to significantly decrease your chances of experiencing tire problems.
Tire maintenance isn’t the only thing necessary for keeping your car running smoothly, though. There’s a lot of other maintenance involved in keeping your car in good working order.
Check out some of our other maintenance blogs today to learn some essential tips on taking good care of your car. This article on preventative maintenance is a great starting point for every driver.