Tires aren’t the most glamorous part of your car, but they are one of the most important. Whichever kind you pick, just follow these five simple tips for making them last.
1. Slow it down!
Slamming on the breaks or putting the petal to the metal will wear on your tires. Try to limit the amount of fast starts or quick stops to stretch the life of your wheels. Driving at high speeds can also wear on the treads. The heat generated from fast driving or quick starts and stops causes the rubber to wear out faster, which costs you money.
2. Beware of hazards!
If you can, avoid potholes and rough or damaged roads. You don’t want to put more pressure on your wheels than needed, so if you can slow down over a pothole, you should. If you can avoid it completely (without a high speed swerve), even better. Potholes can wear on the sidewall, and there’s no way to repair damage there.
Proper rotation and alignment are important to making sure your wheels last longer. Rotation means moving the tires around on your car to different positions. If your route to work means that you’re making a lot more right turns than left, the right side of your car will wear differently than the left. In the same vein, if you have front wheel drive, the front will have different demands placed on it than the back. Experts recommend a rotation every 6,000 miles or so (every other oil change). If you’re lucky enough to have a full sized spare, put it in the rotation as well.
4. Pump it up!
Air pressure isn’t something that most people think about every day. Checking your pressure once a month can add longevity to your wheels. Fully inflated tires have less contact with the road, which leads to less wear and tear. Pressure gauges are usually available at service stations and they come in a variety of options, including digital and plastic slides. The plastic slides are usually less expensive, but the digital gauges are much more accurate.
5. Check the tread!
While you’re checking the pressure, take a look at the tread. You’ll want to have 1/8-inch minimum tread so you don’t lose traction when you need it most. An easy way to measure is to stick a penny in the groove. If the top of President Lincoln’s head is visible, your tread is too low. If you see uneven wear, this may be a sign that your alignment is off. Bad alignment will shorten the lifespan of any wheel, so if you suspect this is the case, you’ll want to have it looked at by a professional.
These are things that are easily overlooked by most people, especially everyone who keeps busy and uses their car every day. However, that’s when it’s most important to keep up with it. Follow these simple steps and you could have your tires for plenty of commutes and road trips!