Tips to Extend the Life of your Tires
You step out into the driveway ready to start your morning commute only to discover a flat tire. How in the heck did that happen overnight? If the tire valve is missing its cap, the culprit might be a leaky valve. Those little caps keep out dirt and moisture that can cause leaks, so be sure to keep caps on all your tire valves. Another tip: When you replace tires, remind the tire shop that you would like new valves with the tires.
Under-inflated tires are a tire salesman’s best friend. They create excessive heat and stress that can lead to tire failure. If you want to get every last mile out of your tires, get yourself a tire pressure gauge and use it at least once a month (living in Arizona, you will want to check more often) to keep your tires inflated to the recommendation in the vehicle’s owner’s manual. Check tires when they are cold (driven for less than one mile) for an accurate reading.
If you top off your tires at a service station, check to see if there’s moisture coming from the air pump. Simply depress the pin inside the inflator valve with your thumbnail. If your thumb gets wet, advise the station manager that his tanks need to be drained and go to a different station. Moisture, trapped inside a tire, can cause pressure variations and corrode rims.
Check tires for uneven wear. If you’ve maintained tire inflation properly, uneven wear may indicate the need for wheel realignment. It can also mean improperly operating brakes or shocks, a bent wheel, internal tire damage, or worn bushings.
Most states require tires to be replaced when they have worn down to 1/16-inch of remaining tire depth. Tires sold inNorth Americaare required to have “wear bars” molded into them to make it easy to see when tire replacement is legally required. However, if you’ll be driving in the rain, you should change your tires when there is 1/8-inch of tread left. Otherwise, water may not escape from under your tires fast enough and you risk hydroplaning – a dangerous situation in which your car loses traction and literally floats on the water. To check tire depth, stick a quarter between the treads in several places. If part ofWashington’s head is always covered, you have enough tread to drive in the rain. If you drive in snow (Tucsonans don’t have to worry about that unless you drive up to the mountains) :), you’ll need at least 3/16-inch of tread to get adequate traction. Stick a penny between the treads. If the top of theLincolnMemorial is always covered, you’re ready for winter driving.
Properly inflated tires will give the most efficient gas mileage. Tires that are properly inflated to the manufacturer’s specifications can improve gas mileage by as much as 3 percent over driving with improperly inflated tires!
At Micro Import Service, our technicians check your tire pressure/tread when you’re at the shop for maintenance or repairs. With the extreme temperatures inTucson, it is a good idea for you to check your tire pressure in between visits. But if you’re in the area, feel free to stop in and we can check them for you. And if you are not sure how to check tire pressure or tread, ask us and we’ll be happy to help!