Proper tire maintenance will ensure you get the at least the rated number of miles from your tires, save money on gas and drive safely. There are a number of steps you can take to ensure proper tire maintenance. Some of these are listed below.
Spend the money and buy a quality tire pressure gauge. This should cost you no more than ten dollars, but over its lifetime, can save you thousands of dollars by allowing your tires to wear properly and more evenly. Tire gauges that are built as part of a tire inflation chuck, such as found at your local gas station, will normally not read correctly. If you’re lucky, they will indicate only plus or minus ten pounds per square inch of pressure off the correct pressure. Sometimes they are even less accurate than that.
Check Pressures Regularly
Once you have purchased that quality tire pressure gauge, use it regularly. Tire inflation pressures should be checked, and corrected when needed, regularly. Weekly tire inflation pressure checks are a good idea. You should also check the pressure in all of your tires before taking a long trip. Don’t forget to check your spare. You can find the recommended tire inflation pressures on a placard in one of the door frames on your car. They can also be found near the back of your owner’s manual. Never go by the pressure stamped into the side of the tire. Those are maximum pressures that the tire has been tested to, NOT the correct pressure to inflate them to.
Maintain Proper Alignment
How your tires sit on the road is very important to proper handling of your car on the road and also dictates how your tires will wear. If your alignment is off, your tires will wear incorrectly. Once this incorrect wear has been allowed to continue for five hundred miles, the wear pattern becomes set in the tread and can’t be corrected. This will waste money by making you have to buy tires before the number of miles they are rated for has clicked through your odometer. Most newer cars can have alignment angles checked and adjusted at all four wheels. This is called a four wheel alignment. Older cars may have the angles checked at all four wheels, however those angles can only be adjusted on the front wheels. This is called a thrust alignment. Before paying for an alignment at a tire or repair shop, call around and see if any shops near you offer what is known as a lifetime alignment. With this type of alignment, as long as you hold onto your receipt, you will only have to pay once for your alignment. For the life of the currently installed tires, any future alignments will be free of charge. This type of alignment will usually cost 2 to 2 1/2 times the normal cost a single alignment.
Rotate on Schedule
Proper tire rotation doesn’t mean making sure that your tires roll in any particular way. It means moving your tires around on your car. Proper tire rotation means moving the front tire on a side to the rear and vice versa. This should be done every 5,000 miles.
The preceding tips for proper tire maintenance will help you save money and ensure that your tires are able to perform for at least the minimum amount of miles they are rated for.