A good quality set of tires should be an investment that will last you up to five years with regular use. In order to make the most of the life of your tires, there are simple maintenance steps you can take, as well as precautions to ensure they last as long as possible.
* Inspect your tires. Frequent visual checks of your tires can be the first step in preventing premature wear or damage that can become irreparable. Look for debris, signs of uneven wear, bulges, dips, bumps, or ‘feathering’ of the tire rubber.
* Tire Pressure. Proper tire pressure will keep the tires at their specified rating, increase performance, and prevent premature wear. Underinflated tires will wear at a faster rate and in uneven patterns due to too much rubber connecting with the road. Overinflated tires will wear only in the center of the tire, wearing down tread, and causing a potential safety hazard.
* Tire Balance. At each oil change or tire rotation, it is common to check to see if your car is due for a tire balancing, so remember to ask your technician. Tire balancing will make sure each tire is maintaining its proper shape and design to prevent unnecessary wear and tear. This will promote a smoother ride, but will also keep the other tires from being adversely affected if a tire becomes out of balance.
* Tire Rotation. Driving conditions and habits vary, but the best way to make sure all four tires wear at about the same rate is to make sure that tires are rotated on a schedule. Moving the front tires to the back and crossing sides will prevent one or two tires from taking on too much wear from repetitive tasks, such as tight right turns, the difference between front wheel and rear wheel drive, and even frequent stops.
* Alignment. Tires that are aligned will last much longer due to the fact that they are working together rather than pulling or wobbling, and creating the potential for uneven wear.
* Uneven Wear. Watch for uneven wear, which is a sign that tires need to be aligned or rotated, or that the wheels should be balanced. Uneven wear may be on only front or back tires, or even only on one tire. If wheel balancing, rotation, or alignment does not fix the problem, talk with your trusted auto technician about inspecting the driveline for unseen issues.
* Damage. Avoiding road damage can be tricky, but take precaution around curbs, turns, speed bumps, dips, train tracks, debris, and potholes. All of these road hazards can cause internal damage to the tire, increasing the chance of flats or blowouts, or changing the shape of the tire so they cannot be properly balanced. Watch for damage to the tread and the sidewall. Bubbling or bumps on the sidewall can be an indication of damage that needs immediate repair.
* Tire Care Products. Tire care products aren’t just for show, tire care products also clean and condition the rubber, protecting them from adverse weather conditions, sun damage, and can prevent cracking with age.
Taking steps to monitor and maintain your tires will prolong their lifespan and prevent safety hazards. The life of your tires can determine the overall longevity and safety of your entire vehicle.