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Tire Care and Maintenance

Updated on March 16, 2015
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With tire prices on the rise, more and more people are focusing on protecting their investment in their vehicles tires by properly caring for them and keeping up with regularly scheduled preventative maintenance. Here are a few simple things to remember to do to extend your tires tread life and also help improve gas mileage.

Tire information placard
Tire information placard | Source

What kind of tires are right for my car?

The first step in making sure you are going to get the full life from your tires is to get the right kind of tires for your vehicle. The most important thing to make sure of is that you have the correct size tire on your car. The vehicle manufacturer has set guidelines for what size tires your vehicle should have, as well as their recommended load and speed ratings. The best way to find out these specifications is to either look in your owners manual or to look on the inside of the drivers side front door where, in most cases, you will find a tire specifications placard. This will tell you all the factory recommendations about your vehicles tires: correct size, load and speed ratings, and correct air pressure settings.

How To Find Your Cars Tire Size

Careful Driving

Road Hazards

Pay attention to the road! Potholes and other road hazards can be the difference between life and death for your tires. Even if your tires are brand new, hitting a pothole or any other type of road defects or debris, if hit hard enough can cause non repairable damage to your vehicles tires. Always drive with caution and avoid potholes if you are able to do so safely.

Braking and Acceleration

Being a careful driver not only makes everyone around you safer, it gives you better gas mileage too. SLOW accelerating and braking puts less wear on your tires and brakes and increases your mpg. Do not peel out, burnout, do donuts, drive too fast, or slam on your brakes if you want to get the full use out of your tires and get good gas mileage!

Air pressure gauge
Air pressure gauge | Source

Tire Maintenance

Air Pressure

One of, if not the most important key to taking care of your tires is to regularly check and adjust your tire inflation pressure. Always operate your vehicle with the tire pressure set to the manufacturers recommendations. Tires run at incorrect air pressure (either too high or too low) will result in premature wear and decrease your gas mileage. Have your air pressure checked at least once a month by a certified shop/mechanic or by doing it yourself. Checking it more often won't hurt. One of the best investments you can make is to purchase an air pressure gauge. They only cost a few dollars and they last for years.

For more information on checking the pressure in your tires click here.

Tire Rotation

Basically, tire rotation is performed by removing each tire and wheel from the vehicle, relocating them and re-installing them in a different place. Most often, the front tires are moved to the rear and the rear tires are moved up to the front. Depending on whether your vehicle is front wheel drive or rear wheel drive, you may also criss-cross one of the pairs you are moving side to side at the same time. Consistently rotating your tires at regular intervals will ensure smooth and even tire wear. Regular rotations will also help in keeping all four tires tread levels even. Never rotating your tires will cause your two front tires to wear faster than your two rear tires (this happens mainly due to the fact that your two front tires do all the steering and turning). It is recommended to rotate your tires about every five to six thousand miles. The main focus, however should be to stay consistent and keep rotating them at the same mileage intervals. If you have all the right tools, equipment, and know how you can rotate them yourself, however most good tire stores should rotate the tires for you at no charge if you bought the tires from them.

Alignment

Wheel alignment is the diagnosis and correction of certain angles that affect the way your tires roll down the road. Adjustment of these angles is needed over time as they change from everyday wear and tear. A properly aligned vehicle will drive better and more safely as well as improve tire wear and gas mileage. It is recommended to have your alignment checked about every six months or 12,000 miles, whichever comes first.

If you correctly follow these steps and recommendations, you will be on your way to getting more for your money by extending the life of your vehicles tires and getting a little better gas mileage!

How To Know If You Need New Tires

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