Tire safety is one of those important chores that we should all take more seriously and it involves more than simply checking air pressure. Regular tire inspections can help you find dangerous problems with your tires and get them taken care of before any type of emergency occurs. This is also a great time to check other important systems in your auto.
How To Check Tire Wear?
Take a standard penny between thumb and forefinger, holding it upside down. Place it between tire treads. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, then you have at least 3/32 inch of tread left. This is also a great time to run your hands across tires to check for nails, screws or other road debris that may have become embedded in the rubber. Very often this can happen without the driver realizing it and then when you least expect it, you’ll have a flat or blow-out.
If you notice that the tread is wearing more on one side of the tire, then this indicates that your wheels are out of alignment. This can wear out a good set of tires in no time so it’s very important to get the wheels realigned as soon as possible.
How To Prevent Tire Wear?
Good regular tire maintenance can prevent emergencies and ensure that you and your family get home safely every time. Your owner’s manual shows the manufacturer’s recommended tire pressure; this info is also available online and sometimes on a sticker in the glove box or the driver’s door jamb. If you don’t have a tire gauge, one can be purchased at any auto supply store for under $20 and these things last for many years. They’re practically indestructible.
Keeping your tire air pressure at the manufacturer’s recommended amount will give you better gas mileage and better control in emergency situations. Once you have the correct air pressure, check your tread wear. Tires have grooves between the tire treads where you can locate raised patches of rubber called “Wear Bars”. The minimum legal tread depth in most states is 3/32 inch. On older or inexpensive tires, you may not have wear bars but you can quickly check tread depth using the “Penny” method.