Your car’s tires literally connect you to the road. They are probably the most overlooked safety system in a vehicle, but their importance cannot be stressed enough. Paying attention to the condition, health and inflation of your tires can help safeguard you from dangerous driving situations like a flat tire or tire blowout. Here are ways to help prevent your tires from falling flat.
Temperature changes and regular driving will impact the pressure in your tires. Since tire pressure can fluctuate, it’s important to regularly check the psi of each tire. Refer to your vehicle owner’s manual for the recommended level. Some cars are equipped with a Tire Pressure Monitoring System, which can alert you that your tires need attention. If your car does not feature a TPMS, make sure to do this important maintenance check at least once a month, advises the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Even if you do have a built-in system, it’s smart to check them regularly. Don’t forget about the spare, too. It can easily lose pressure, putting you at risk when you need it most. For the most accurate pressure measurement, you’ll need to wait until your tires have been resting for a minimum of three hours, adds the NHTSA.
Check for abnormalities
You can spot issues before they morph into major problems with a routine and regular check of your tires. Look closely at each tire. If you notice any abnormalities such as tears, bulges or cracks, schedule a maintenance check. Also, examine the tread. Is it wearing unevenly? Is it thin? You want the tread to be substantial on your tires. If your tires are starting to look smooth, it’s time for professional help.
Look out for potholes
Since many roads are littered with potholes, it can be difficult to avoid every single one on a journey. If you’ve hit a pothole, your tires may sustain significant damage that at first, might not be visible.
“Tires are meant to be the only part of your car that touches the road, so it isn’t a surprise that they’re susceptible to pothole damage like sidewall bulges, tread separation or flats,” according to Your Mechanic writer Alex Leanse. “These can happen because potholes often have a hard edge that compresses the tire against the wheel on impact, slicing the rubber or snapping the belts that hold a tire together.”
While you’re at the mechanic for your vehicle’s regular oil change, inquire about having your tires rotated. This regular maintenance can help prevent your tires from wearing unevenly or deteriorating at different rates. Your tires can shed tread, become flat or blowout if you don’t have them rotated or properly inflated, warns the NHTSA. Your owner’s manual will let you know when and how often you should schedule a tire rotation.
Ask about recalls
Recalls are a constant in the automotive industry. Ask your trusted mechanic about recalls involving your tires or do research on your own. You can also enter your car’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) into the NHTSA’s online tool. This will generate recalls pertaining to your vehicle.
Avoiding a flat tire takes careful and consistent monitoring. Regular maintenance checks are important, too, to help ensure you’re protected on the road.