Road safety is related to the care and maintenance that we provide to our means of transportation, cars, motorcycles or bicycles. Maintaining proper tire pressure, observing tire and vehicle load limits are among the first considerations that need our attention.
It is important not to carry more weight in our vehicles than what is recommended by the manufacturer according to what our tires or vehicle can safely support.
Avoiding road hazards, slowing down when going over potholes or other objects in the road, contribute to the protection of the tires. Inspecting them for cuts, slashes, and other problems is important in order to avoid tire failure. Tire failure such as tread separation, blowout and flat tires may cause serious accidents.
Properly maintained tires are important for optimal steering, stopping, traction and carrying capability of your vehicle. Tire problems can occur when tires are under inflated or when your car is overloaded.
You should take at least five minutes each month to check your tires.
This is a measure that can effectively protect you and decrease the number of avoidable breakdowns and crashes. Additionally optimal tire condition contributes to better fuel economy, increase car and tire life.
Check tire pressure at least once a month. Do this for your spare tire as well. Every time you go for a long trip check tire pressure. Make sure that your tires have valves with valve cups.
Check the tire information or the manual provided by the manufacturer for the maximum load recommended for your car. If you are towing a trailer keep in mind that part of the weight of the loaded trailer is transferred to the towing vehicle.
Locate in your vehicle the numbers for recommended tire pressure and vehicle load limit. You can find these on the tire placards and in the vehicle owner's manual. Tire placards are permanent labels attached to the vehicle door edge, doorpost, glove-box or inside the trunk lid. Once you have located this information, use it to check your tire pressure and to make sure that your vehicle is not overloaded. This is mandatory when you head for a long journey or vacation.
Keep in mind that tires naturally lose air over time. This is one of the reasons that you have to check your tire pressure at least once a month. You may purchase a tire pressure gauge to keep in your car.
But remember that the tire inflation number that the vehicle manufacturers provide, reflects the proper pressure when a tire is cold. For accurate figures, measure tire pressure when the car has been unused for at least three hours.
It is important that you record the tire pressure of all tires. In case that the pressure is too high in any of the tires, slowly release air by gently pressing on the tire valve with the edge of your tire gauge until you get the correct pressure.
If the pressure is too low, note the difference between the measured tire pressure and the correct tire pressure. The "missing" pounds of pressure are what you will need to add. Add the missing pounds of air pressure to each under inflated tire at the nearest service station. Be sure that all tires have the same air pressure unless there is a recommendation by the manufacturer that front and rear tires should have different amounts of pressure.
The tire tread provides the gripping action and traction that prevent your vehicle from slipping or sliding, especially when the road is wet or icy. In general, tires are not safe and should be replaced when the tread is worn down to 1/16 of an inch.
Checking the tire tread is important for estimating how much tires have been used and when it is time to replace them.
Tires have built-in tread wear indicators. These indicators are raised sections spaced intermittently in the bottom of the tread grooves. When they appear even with the outside of the tread, it is time to replace your tires.
It is always very useful to let your tires be checked at regular intervals by a tire professional.
In order to preserve for your tires good condition and functionality, slow down if you have to go over a pothole or other object in the road. Do not run over curbs, and try not to strike the curb when parking.
Another important aspect of tire functionality and maintenance is tire balance and wheel alignment. To avoid vibration or shaking of the vehicle when a tire rotates, the tire must be properly balanced. This balance is achieved by positioning weights on the wheel to counterbalance heavy spots on the wheel-and-tire assembly.
A wheel alignment adjusts the angles of the wheels so that they are positioned correctly relative to the vehicle's frame. This adjustment maximizes the life of your tires and prevents your car from veering to the right or to the left when driving on a straight level road. These adjustments require special equipment and should be performed by a qualified technician.
Tire rotation is important in order to reduce irregular tire wear. This can be achieved by rotating tires from front to back and from side to side. Check you owner's manual for information on how frequently the tires on your vehicle should be rotated and the best pattern for rotation. For cars that have tires of different size, other recommendations may be provided by the manufacturer.
Keep in mind that the actions that you take for proper tire maintenance should complement other care and maintenance activities.
These actions will improve vehicle handling, will protect you and others from crashes and breakdowns. This will be financially beneficial for you because of better fuel economy, and increased tire life.
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