As vehicle technology has become more advanced and trouble-free, motorists have gradually come to ignore their tires. Though tires themselves have greatly improved over the years in terms of performance and wear, they still require some special care. Since 2008, tire pressure monitoring systems on new cars have caused many drivers to think they don’t really have to do anything anymore, which has been a mixed blessing.
Though the tires on newer model cars are designed to prevent catastrophic failures, many auto owners believe they never have to perform any tire maintenance again and this just isn’t true. With a bit of tire maintenance each month, you’ll get better service and longer wear.
Proper Tire Pressure
Improperly inflated tires require greater stopping distances. In an emergency, this can make the difference in whether you get stopped in time to prevent an accident. Tires can lose pressure simply from regular driving. They also lose pressure due to extreme heat and cold. Experts recommend checking tire pressure each month.
Over-inflated tires won’t absorb as much of the road impact, leaving you with a rough ride. If you’re going long distances, this can equate to an uncomfortable trip. The tread doesn’t meet the road uniformly either and this can cause uneven tread wear.
Many studies have been done that confirm that your miles per gallon will go down by 5% even if tires are only under-inflated by 6 psi. If you drive a lot, then your pocketbook can take a big hit.
A good set of tires can cost hundreds of dollars but they won’t last near as long if you drive around with the wrong air pressure. Over-inflation causes more wear in the center of the tire’s tread, while under-inflation causes wear on the sides. Tires that are not inflated properly wear out 25% faster than those that do.
Tires are rated to carry a maximum weight load at a prescribed tire pressure. Higher pressure is usually required for greater loads. Under-inflated tires will heat up and wear out faster when driven a lot or at higher speeds while carrying a big load.
Tire Care Tips!
Before loading up your SUV for the big vacation this year, be sure to check the air pressure in each tire. All tire places sell a good air gauge. You can find a simple pen-type gauge for $2 or $3, along with some pretty fancy advanced tire meters for up to $100. Keep it handy in the glove box or trunk so pressure can be checked anytime you check the oil and other fluids.