Importance of changing/maintaining tires

Tire Maintenance

Although tire maintenance is often overlooked, it is a vital part of car safety.  Many car owners focus on exterior aspects such as paint jobs, waxing, and chrome wheels.  Others’ focal point is of functionality including the engine, transmission, and exhaust.  However, tire maintenance is crucial as tires are the only contact between your car and the road.  Damage can result in unstable handling and potential blowouts, which are critical when traveling at high speeds.

Tires have four major functions: to support, to absorb, to transmit, and to change and maintain direction of travel.  The average car weighs between one and two tons plus the weight of the passengers inside.  The tires support and distribute the weight.  If you’ve driven through almost any portion of the USA, then you have encountered bumpy roads! Together with the suspension system, the tires when properly inflated absorb the road shock so to reduce the amount of impact felt by the driver and passengers.  As the only contact between your car and the road, the rough surface of the tire provides traction when accelerating and braking.  Finally, the tires turn in response to the steering wheel to maintain or change the direction of travel.

Tire pressure is of the essence in regards to vehicle safety and gas efficiency.  Uneven wear is common as weight distribution varies and can be aided by tire rotation.  Ensuring the proper pressure level will provide the appropriate level of shock absorbent.  Unfortunately, your tires lose pressure on a continual basis and must be checked periodically.  It is recommended that you check the tire pressure weekly when the tire is cold.  Tires can be over or underinflated, so check the specifications for your tires.

A visual inspection of tread wear can help you determine when it is time to replace your tires.  Lower tread can be dangerous as it diminishes the amount of friction and driving control available.  Higher end tires are equipped with “tread markers” that tell you when to replace them.  However, a common alternative is to use a penny.  Insert the penny with Lincoln’s head upside down into the tread and when you can see his head, you know that the tread is becoming too shallow for safe driving.

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