When it comes to car parts, the only things that actually make contact with the road are the tires. There are a variety of tires out there, from huge 24 inchers with sparkling rims to small and fuel-efficient.
When you buy tires, you’re investing in your car’s safety and performance. Unfortunately, not many people take care of that investment. Only about one in ten motorists checks his or her tire pressure. Compare that to the seven out of ten who wash their cars regularly. To get the most out of your investment, here are some tips to make your tires last longer.
Changing How You Drive
It’s not punctures that the average driver necessarily has to worry about; it’s the day-to-day driving. Improving your driving habits is the first thing you should do if you want to make your tires last.
Fast turns, sudden stops, and jackrabbit starts all cause more wear to the tire. Speeding heats the rubber of the tires, which causes faster breakdown. Try to avoid obstacles like potholes, rocks, and curbs. They won’t pierce your tire, but constantly scraping and slamming through these minor obstacles takes its toll. You’ll be seeing a tire machine frequently if you don’t change those bad driving habits.
Checking Air Pressure
As mentioned above, if you’re like most drivers, you probably haven’t checked your tire pressure in a while, and like most drivers, your tires could probably use some air.
Check the air pressure using a tire pressure gauge once a month. Do it when the tires are “cold,” which means you haven’t been driving on them for at least the past few hours. Even a few miles on the road warms up the air inside the tires, causing them to expand. A cold reading will provide a more accurate pressure reading and leave room for expansion when you do hit the road.
Tires can lose one to two pounds of pressure a month. An under-inflated tire presents more surface area to wear out. Under-inflation also causes the tire to bulge out the sides, which puts added pressure on its sidewalls. If you have a motorcycle, motorcycle lifts can help you get a better look at your bike’s tires.
At your local auto shop or tire store, the specialists will use car lifts and all sorts of instruments to check for proper alignment. You probably don’t have those tools on-hand, but you can still check for proper alignment.
Stand in front of or behind your car. Check if your tires tilt toward or away from the frame of the car. If the tires tip inwards, there will be uneven wear on the insides of the tires. If they tip out, the wear will start on the outsides of the tires. If you notice either of these things, it’s time to get those tires aligned.
Rear tires will wear differently than front tires, based on whether you have a front- or rear-wheel drive car. Right tires wear differently than left tires based on the number of turns you take in either direction as well as your parallel parking skills. The right front tire tends to take most of the bumps and scrapes.
The key to getting the most out of your tires is even wear. Rotating your tires helps develop that even wear by moving each one to a different position. Manufacturers recommend rotating the tires every 6,000 to 8,000 miles.