Americans love their automobiles. Some people even care for a car like it were a part of the family. But as great as our fondness for automobiles may be, many of us simply do not make the time to perform routine maintenance checks. Sure, most people make sure the oil in the car is changed regularly and maybe take it through the occasional car wash. But when is the last time you examined your car’s tires? If you cannot quite recall, you are not alone. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has found that only 19% of consumers properly check and inflate their vehicle’s tires. If you are a driver who does not regularly checking your car’s tires, here are a few reasons why it is important to make routine tire exams a priority:
- Safety: When you step behind the wheel, it can be easy to forget that your vehicle’s only point of contact with the road is through the tires. According to the NHTSA, there are approximately 11,000 tire-related crashes in the United States each year. These crashes are the cause of close to 200 deaths.
- Extend the life of your tires: Regular tire maintenance, like having your tires rotated regularly can actually extend the life of your tires. Have your mechanic check you’re your vehicle’s tires are properly balanced and aligned.
- Save money on gasoline: Driver’s that have properly inflated tries can save as much as 11 cents a gallon on gasoline. Tires that are not properly inflated can lower gas mileage by .03% for every 1 psi (pound per square inch) drop in pressure.
Now that you are fully aware of the importance and benefits of regular tire maintenance, keep the following tips in mind, the next time you check your tires:
- Check tire pressure monthly: Tires lose approximately 1 psi of pressure each month. Therefore, it is best to make sure you check your tire pressure every 30 days or so.
- Examine tires for overall condition: When examining your car’s tires be sure to look for wear and tear. If a tire has low tread, cuts or abrasions, it may be time to replace the tire.
- Properly Inflated: When adding pressure to a tire make sure that you only inflate the tire to the recommended psi for that specific tire. If you are uncertain as to the proper psi, do not guess. Consult your vehicle’s owner’s manual.
- Buy tire that are proper for the vehicle and driving conditions: The decision of what type of tire is best for your vehicle depends a lot on the type of vehicle and the weather conditions the vehicle will be driven in. For example, tires for wet weather have unique characteristics that help channel water quickly away, helping your vehicle maintain maximum contact with roadway.
- Have your tires rotated: Generally, tires should be rotated every 5,000 to 8,000 miles. This calculates out to be about every, or every other, oil change depending on the number of miles you drive.
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