Tires are a serious investment. Not only in terms of what you pay for them, but also in light of what you have riding on them. Of your vehicle’s many components, few are as critical to your safety as your tires. Proper tire care and maintenance will not only keep tires performing safely and at their best, it will extend the service life you will get from them.
Here are five easy ways you can extend tire service life:
1. Keep tires inflated to the recommended inflation level
When tires hit the road with a pressure that is under the recommended inflation level, an additional load is placed on the shoulder of the tire, causing that area to wear prematurely. Underinflated tires also build up internal heat, which increases rolling resistance and in turn reduces fuel economy. It is not easy to determine if tires are properly inflated by simply looking at them. It is important to use a tire gauge to check tire pressure regularly. Keep tires inflated to the level recommended in your owner’s manual.
2. Regularly inspect your tread wear
Drivers don’t often think to check tread wear unless they are having problems or have been driving on roadways with unavoidable debris. Checking your tire tread regularly can catch wear trends before they have done too much damage. Problems can be spotted by visual inspection or by running your hand over the tread and feeling for problems. Potential issues include distortion in the tread, feathering or cupping. If caught early enough, bad wear patterns can be countered to extend the tire service life.
3. Make sure that your vehicle is properly aligned
A very common cause of unusual tread wear is poor vehicle alignment. When tires are unable to run straight ahead, accelerated tread wear occurs on certain parts of the tire. Regular alignment service will keep your vehicle from experiencing a variety of alignment related problems, including uneven and premature tread wear.
4. Keep up on regularly scheduled tire rotation
Along with regular alignment service, tire rotation should be performed on an ongoing basis. A consistent and documented schedule of tire rotation will promote even tread wear and extend tire service life.
5. Have wheel and suspension components inspected and replaced as needed
Wheel and suspension components can be the hidden enemies of tire service life. A wheel bearing that is not properly torqued can cause irregular tire wear. Worn shock absorbers can create depression wear on treads. Rather than waiting until trouble strikes, replace shock absorbers and other suspension components on a set schedule.