Keeping up with the maintenance of your tires is one of the most overlooked preventative measures for your car. It is easy to assume your tires are in good condition just by glancing at them. After all, problems with tire wear or inadequate pressure aren't in the forefront of your mind when you're driving and the vehicle seems to be running smoothly. You, as a car owner, need to check for proper air pressure regularly and perform an up-close inspection of your tire condition.
Having your tires inflated to the proper air pressure will improve your gas mileage and make your brakes and suspension systems last longer by not having to work so hard. It is recommended that you have your car or truck's tires checked for wear and pressure each time you fill up your gas tank and before any long road trips.
Your tires are the only contact your vehicle has with the road. If there is any sort of cracking, bubbling or tread wear, your safety is greatly at risk. Make sure you check over all of your tires, including the spare. Simply placing your hand on the tire to feel if it is round and uniform is the best way to check for bubbles and bulges and irregular tread wear that would make driving your car dangerous. A good way to check for significant wear is to take a coin, such as a penny, and insert it into the tire's tread. If Lincoln's head isn't covered by the treads, the tire is worn and in need of replacement. Driving your car with worn tires can lead to hydroplaning in wet or rainy road conditions.
For checking your tire pressure, you must use a pressure gauge. You cannot judge a tire's pressure simply by looking at it or feeling it. You can find what your tire's proper inflation weight either written on the tire or in your vehicle's owner's manual. When you place the pressure gauge on the tire stem, an indicator is raised by the amount of air in your tire. There are also gauges that are digital and will give you a reading of the PSI (pounds per square inch) of your tire. If your reading tells you that your tires are underinflated, use an air compressor (found at most gas stations) to fill up each tire that needs it. Be sure to check the pressure again after you inflate to be sure you're at the proper PSI. Do not overinflate your tires, as this can cause excess wear in the middle and reduce the surface area of the tire, further reducing your safety.
By following these measures of proper tire inflation and monitoring your tread wear and condition, you can be sure that you and your family are riding in a vehicle that is safer for you and for those who share the road with you.
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