Summer is here and it’s time to start thinking about summer road trips. But before you tie your luggage to the roof rack and head to Wally World, let’s back the car out of the garage first and kick the tires.
- Check tread depth – Tread depth is crucial to stopping, steering, and staying on the road. The better the tread, the better the traction. Don’t know how to check your tread depth? Within your tread, your tires have a wear bar. The wear bar is a built-in warning system to alert you when the tire needs to be replaced. You can also check your tread with a coin. Place a quarter the tread grooves across your tire. If part of Washington’s head is always covered by the tread, you have more than 4/32″ of tread depth remaining. Anything less than this could be considered unsafe for long drives. Lastly, if you have a tread depth gauge, you can find out the precise tread depth of your tires.
- Check tire pressure –A tire can lose one pound per square inch when the temperature drops 10° and as little as 5 psi can compromise safety. When checking the tire pressure, it’s best to test your tires when they are cold, or at least a few hours after driving. According to The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), underinflated tires are at risk of excessive wear or failure from overheating, and vehicles with tires underinflated over 25% are three times more likely to be involved in a tire-related crash. Furthermore, underinflation can harm your car’s fuel economy. By inflating your tires to the correct air pressure, which can be found on in your owner’s manual or on the driver’s side door jamb, you could save yourself a little bit of money to spend on tickets to see the world’s largest ball of mud.
- Check for damage – Investigate for cracks, cuts, splits, punctures, holes, and bulges in the tread or on the sidewalls.
- Tire Rotation – Proper rotation can help you avoid problems with wheel alignment or balance that adversely affect treadwear, which could affect your handling and ability to stop, making your vehicle hazardous on the road.
Oh, and don’t forget the spare. Check that, too! Let’s just hope you don’t need it.
Understanding tire safety is necessary to ensure that your car is operating at the highest efficiency. The summer season is the perfect time to take a trip, so get in the family truckster and get there safely.