It’s easy to forget about your tires. But treating them right not only improves your vehicle’s safety and performance, it also saves you money. Below are some things to keep in mind to ensure your tires last as long as possible.
Don’t Let Your Tires Become Underinflated
When your tires are just a few pounds light, a flat spot develops where the rubber meets the road. This means a larger surface area of the tire is in contact, which rapidly accelerates tire wear. It affects your gas mileage as well by increasing the friction between the tire and the road.
Check your tire pressure once a month and add a little air as needed to match the tire’s specifications. Most tires lose a pound or two every month.
Check to See that Your Tires Sit Vertically (and Don’t Lean to the Right or Left)
Any good maintenance shop will have a number of hi-tech techniques for checking your tire alignment. But you can do a simple check yourself in your own driveway.
The first thing to look for is the tire’s camber (the degree to which the tire tilts toward or away from the car, i.e. is the tire vertical). If there is any amount of camber, the tread will wear unevenly and you’ll have to replace much sooner. You can tell if there’s a camber on your front tires by standing directly in front of the vehicle (or behind it for rear tires) and determining whether your tires tip in or out.
Make Sure Your Tires Aren’t “Pigeon-Toed”
You can also check what’s called the ‘toe’ of your tires. The front of your tires should be pointed straight ahead, if they are “pigeon-toed” (pointing inward) or splayed outward, your tread will not wear evenly. Pigeon-toed tires often bear a distinctive tread-wear called ‘feathering’ in the industry.
If either your camber or toe seems off, or you see uneven tread-wear, it’s time to get your tires aligned.
Get Your Tires Regurlarly Rotated
All four of your tires wear a little differently. In front-wheel drive cars, the front tires wear out much faster than the backs, and vice versa. Passenger side versus driver side can make a huge difference as well, due to differing frequencies in left and right turns. Most manufacturers recommend rotating your tires every 6,000 to 8,000 miles to distribute wear evenly. To make remembering this easy, have your tires rotated at every other oil change.
Got more questions tire-related questions? Give Discount Tire Centers a call! We’re you’re number one choice for tires in West Los Angeles and the entire southern California region!
Photo courtesy of Steve Garner.