When owning a vehicle, inspecting tires regularly is an important task to do. Since most tire damage and wear is a result of driving on tires that are improperly inflated, it is recommended checking your air pressure once a month at the very least.
Maintaining proper tire pressure is important for many reasons other than reducing the potential of a flat tire or a blowout. In order to achieve optimum handling from your vehicle, from everyday driving to making emergency maneuvers, tire pressure needs to be at the proper inflation level. Even a tire that doesn’t appear to be low on air can result in reduced vehicle handling and excessive tread wear. Inspecting tires regularly can help determine when the tires will need more air.
Tires that are not at the correct air pressure will also increase the rolling resistance of the vehicle. Under-inflated tires, for example, result in increased rolling resistance and therefore require more energy and fuel to move the vehicle, which negatively impacts fuel economy. Improper inflation puts unnecessary stress on your tires and can result in excessive or uneven wear. When this happens, it compromises the ability of the tires to perform, and often results in premature tire wear-and the necessity to replace them sooner than expected.
When inspecting tires regularly, remember to check tire pressure by using an air pressure gauge. Consult your owner’s manual or the label inside the driver’s door jamb to find out what the recommended air pressure is for your vehicle. To check the air pressure, unscrew the cap from the tire’s valve stem and place the round end of the gauge over the stem.
In addition to checking your air pressure, also look for signs of tire wear, such as cracks in the sidewall, or foreign objects embedded in the tire, such as nails or screws. Check the tread depth using a simple penny test. Take a penny and place it with President Lincoln’s head downward between the grooves of the tread at the top of the tire. As long as part of his head is obscured by the tread, you have the legal amount of tread remaining on your tires. Check the tread depth in several places on each tire to spot uneven tread wear. If you see the full head in some areas, then it’s time to purchase new tires.