The sun is shining, the snow is long gone, and it’s time to take the kids out on the first real vacation of the year. But while you may have filled the tank and the trunk, you can still be at risk of a crash if you neglected to pay proper attention to your tires.
Four Quick Tire Checks That Can Prevent a Sudden Blowout
To encourage drivers everywhere to prevent car accidents caused by blowouts, the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) has designated May 24-30, 2015, to be National Tire Safety Week. Before you gas up the car for summer vacation, the RMA recommends taking just five minutes to check your tires (including the spare) for:
- Inflation. You may have glanced at your tires to see if they needed more air, but the truth is that a tire can lose up to half of its air pressure and still not appear to be flat. Under-inflation has been linked to many accidents due to tire stress, loss of control, and sudden blowouts. When your tires are cool, check the air pressure in your tires against the recommended pressure listed inside your car door. You should also check the sidewalls for any leaks, slashes, or irregularities.
- Tread. Proper tread is vital in keeping contact with the ground, both in clear conditions and in bad weather. Tires should be replaced when the tread is below 2/32 of an inch. Some tires have built-in wear bars, or narrow strips of rubber that are visible across the tread when the tire is worn out. If your tires do not have wear bars, you can place a penny into one of the treads, head-down. If part of Lincoln's head is covered, you’re ok. If you can see all of Lincoln's head, it’s time to replace your tires.
- Rotation. Regular tire rotations can lengthen the life of your tires by ensuring even wear on each wheel. Generally speaking, tires should be rotated about every 5,000 miles (check your manual for your vehicle’s specific recommendations). During rotation, your mechanic should check for any tire imbalance or other wheel problems.
- Alignment. A run-in with a curb or a deep pothole can knock your wheels out of alignment, resulting in uneven tire wear and mechanical problems. If you feel any vibration in the steering or your car "pulls" to one side of the road, have your car inspected to make sure that your wheels are properly aligned.
Know someone who’s planning a road trip? Share this article with your friends on Facebook or by email to make sure their vehicles are in order from top to bottom!