Understanding the important world of tire safety
Without a doubt, tires are an essential safety component for any vehicle. They’re the four things that connect your vehicle to the road and provide traction, handling, steering, stability and braking. There can be severe consequences if your tires fail, which is why it’s crucial to keep them in pristine condition. This article will cover what you need to know about optimal tire safety.
Proper tire size
There’s one rule to remember when it comes to proper tire size: any replacement tires need to be the same size, and have equal or greater load index and speed rating as recommended by the vehicle manufacturer. The recommended size, load index and speed rating can be found in the vehicle owner’s manual or the placard located on the drivers side door jamb.
Proper tire inflation
Underinflation is the leading cause of tire failure. Driving on underinflated tires increases the potential for damage due to excessive heat as well as increased fuel consumption. Overinflated tires are more likely to get cuts or punctured, plus they wear the center of your tread faster. Always check to make sure your tires are properly inflated. You can find this information in your vehicle owner’s manual or the placard on the driver’s side door jamb.
Regular tire rotation
Rotating your tires regularly helps maintain even tread wear. In general, front tires wear faster than rear tires. First, more pressure is put on the front tires' outer edges when you make turns. Second, the front tires support more of your vehicle’s weight, thanks to the engine being in the front. However, rotating your tires helps to maximize treadwear life and balance out the wear differences between front and rear tires.
Regular monthly tire inspections are an important aspect in tire safety. When inspecting your tires look for cuts, cracks, splits, punctures or bulges in the tread area and both sidewalls. A monthly tread depth test is also recommended. Check out our article on the “Penny Test”. Also, you should replace your tires based on the recommended maximum age listed in your vehicle owners manual.
Proper tire repair
Whether or not a tire can be repaired depends on the amount of damage it has sustained and the location of the damage on the tire. You should always check with a tire service professional to make this decision. Check out our Find A Retailer page to connect with your local tire service professional.
Vehicle condition and alignment
The condition of your vehicle will impact the performance of your tires. Wheel alignment plays an especially significant role in how your tires and vehicle behave on the road for a few reasons.
- Tire life is reduced when a vehicle’s suspension is out of alignment because it causes uneven tread wear.
- Misaligned wheels will also impact driving comfort. As your vehicle pulls to one side, you’ll have to work harder to keep a straight path.
Bad driving habits are another serious factor that can shorten the life of your tires, and it’s often overlooked. Speeding up too fast, slowing down too quickly and driving erratically strains your tires. The same goes for taking a turn too sharply or hitting a curb or pothole in the road.