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Top 5 Tire Safety Tips

When it comes to their vehicle, people never really show concern for the tires that allow them to travel conveniently and safely from place to place. The only time these inflated circles are given any attention is when something goes wrong. It happens all the time and, if it isn't the case with you, you probably know someone who doesn't care much (or at all) about tire safety. If you are not concerned about the condition of your tires, you could end up stranded on the side of the road, waiting for help to arrive. The consequence of ignoring tire safety can be serious and, sometimes, even fatal.

So, before you set out on the road, either to get to work, drive your kids to school, do some errands, or enjoy a vacation, take the time to act on the following tire safety tips.

1. Inspect each tire's condition.

Before getting into your car, or after you get home, inspect each tire. What you need to look for is any kind of damage or foreign objects that could prevent your tires from functioning like they should. Check for uneven tire wear, and feel for any irregularities by running your hand along the tire's surface. In case you come across any of these, you could face problems with your tire's suspension and alignment.

2. Make it a habit to check the tire pressure frequently.

Over time, your vehicle's tires will lose air through the valve, causing them to become underinflated. Tires with insufficient air pressure will affect the driver's ability to handle the vehicle, and they will be subject to more friction. As a result of excess friction, just enough heat will be created to shorten your tire's lifespan. Tires with low air pressure can also reduce your fuel economy, because of the additional rolling resistance.

To avoid this, get a good quality tire gauge to test your tires' inflation at least once a month. Do this check only when the tires are cool. Also, make sure your tires are inflated as per the manufacturer's instructions. You will find the tire inflation levels printed on a sticker that is either stuck inside the fuel filler lid, under the car hood, or on the driver's door jamb.

3. Inspect the tread depth of your tires.

Check your state's law regarding minimum tread depth. In most states the minimum safe tread depth is 2/32″. To inspect the depth of your tire treads, all you need is a penny or a quarter. Place the penny into the tread groove, with Lincoln's head pointing down. If the top portion of Lincoln's head is showing, your treads are under 2/32″. If the tire groves reach the Lincoln Memorial, the tread depth of your tires should be below 6/32″. Do the same with the quarter. If you see the top of Washington's head, your tread depth is below 4/32″.

4. Regularly rotate your tires.

There's not a single vehicle that possesses even weight distribution, from the front to the back. This means your tires will get worn out unevenly. The front tires are generally subject to more wear and tear because of the impact and friction they are exposed to when you brake and corner. To prevent this uneven wearing of your tires, regularly switch the back ones with the front. This will ensure that they wear evenly and, in turn, last longer. This rotation should be done after the completion of every 5,000 - 7,000 miles. Your oil change should also roughly fall within this period, so you can arrange for your tires to be rotated during the same appointment, instead of having to do it yourself.

5. Do not mix tires.

If, for some reason (say a puncture, blow-out or other reason) you need to replace a tire, make it a point to get a replacement that matches the size and tread patterns of the rest of your tires. If you go for the same brand, you are likely to get the exact same tire. If you get tires that do not match, it can affect your car, prevent you from driving properly, endanger your safety, and make you a hazard to other road users. It is better to replace all four tires at the same time to avoid any unevenness or dissimilarities. If that is not a feasible option for you, try to replace two tires at a time.

If you practice these safety tips, you will have one less car problem to worry about! You will be able to cruise smoothly and safely to your destination.

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