In order to ensure maximum tire life, you have to perform regular tire maintenance. Proper tire maintenance isn’t something that you remember to perform every few thousand miles. Proper tire maintenance is a daily process. There are things that you can do to extend your tire life and there are things you should do when the car is stopped or has been sitting for any length of time.
Every time you walk out to your car, you should be looking around it to make sure nothing that can damage them has been placed or blown near your tires. This includes nails, glass and other sharp objects.
Tires are designed to live through some rough treatment. This doesn’t mean that you can drive over those two-foot-wide potholes at top speed. If you can safely avoid them, do so. Next to manufacturing defects and accidents, hitting potholes at speed is the most common cause of premature tire failure.
Almost all newer cars have a tire placard on one of the vehicle’s door jambs that lists the various sizes available on that particular model, as well as their recommended inflation pressures. These are good for a general guide, but you will want to do some experimenting to determine the optimum inflation pressure for your tires. Check things like handling, acceleration and deceleration as well as ride condition. Track fuel mileage for a single tank of gas at each inflation pressure. Once you determine the correct inflation pressures for your tires, write them down in your owner’s manual and maintain them. Be advised that they may not all want to be set at the same pressure. Checking tire pressure must always be done when the tires are fully cold, otherwise you will receive erroneous readings.
Improper setting of your vehicle’s suspension alignment can lead to increased fuel usage, uneven tire tread wear and difficulty maintaining a straight course. Your alignment should be checked every 5,000 to 10,000 miles, depending on the condition of the roads and your driving habits. Wheels that are improperly aligned won’t always be pointing in the desired direction, causing a condition known as ‘scrubbing,’ where the tires are scrubbed across the surface of the road like a piece of wood across sandpaper, causing increased and uneven wear.
In order to correct for uneven wear patterns induced by road and driving conditions, your tires should be rotated every 5,000 to 10,000 miles. Regular and consistent tire rotation will distribute any uneven tire wear equally, which will allow you more time to correct any suspension problems.
Every time you have your oil changed, and more often if you have the ability, you should have your vehicle’s suspension checked for wear and tolerances. Any no-input steering system deflection should be corrected as soon as possible, as these deflections will affect the tire wear and the control of the car. Items to be checked include shocks and struts, tie rod ends and sockets, ball joints and all other parts in the steering system.