Tires are one of the most important parts of the car. They have so much to do with safety based on wear and tear as well as basic maintenance. As with so many things in our life that are common, we often don’t give things like tire safety the attention they deserve.
How do I maintain my tires?
As much as anyone I have learned a lot from this referenced material. I have not been exactly “mechanical” over the course of my life.
First, tires can lose one pound of tire pressure per month under normal circumstances. Further, tires can lose one pound of tire pressure per every ten degree drop in temperature. That explains how you can go out one morning and your tires are very low. That uses to really confuse me.
First of all it is important to understand that just looking at tires is valueless. Just “eyeing” tires can confuse you because two tires can actually look the same and have a 20 pound pressure difference.
The proper way to check a tire requires an air gauge and when the pressure is taken, the tire should be cold.
To start with remove the valve cap. Then place the end of the gauge over the valve. Push the gauge in firmly and the scale will extend giving you a reading. If you need to add air pressure, use the air hose and if you need to reduce pressure hold the tire nozzle to the side.
As a side note over-inflation can be just as dangerous as under-inflation.
After you have checked your air pressure remember to replace the valve cap.
How do I know what the proper air pressure is?
You can find the manufacturer’s recommended air pressure on the door jamb and/or the owner’s manual.
Another part of tire maintenance is rotating the tires.
This should be done about every 5,000 miles.
If your vehicle is a front-wheel drive then move each front tire straight back. At the same time move the left rear tire to the right front location and the right rear tire to the left front position.
If your vehicle is a rear-wheel drive then when rotating move the rear tires straight forward. Move the right front tire to the left rear and the left front to the right rear.
There is one legitimate way to visually check tire wear.
Look at the tires and check the tread evenness. Check for nails and exposed tire parts.
Finally put a penny in upside down between two treads. If you can see the top of President Lincoln’s head the tire is too worn.
Not only will proper tire maintenance save you a lot of money but it will help keep you safe.
“Inflate. Rotate. Evaluate. How to maintain your tires,” Brochure, Bridgestone Firestone