Tire maintenance and safety is unique in that a vehicle’s tires are the only component that touches the ground. Because they can take a beating as a result of direct contact with various surfaces, it is important that they are well maintained in order to offer appropriate safety.
Inflating your tires properly is one of the simplest ways to ensure safety and efficiency with your vehicle. When you inflate your tires properly, you extend the lifespan of your tires significantly. Alternatively, improper inflation can lead to uneven wear across the tread of your tires. This can affect fuel mileage and increase the chances of sudden tire failure for yourself and others.
Tire inflation is measured by PSI which stands for Pounds per Square Inch. The PSI can range from tire to tire, but it’s typically scribed into the tire on your vehicle. It’s best to check your tire pressure once a month particularly as the seasons are changing. Fluctuations in temperature can affect tire pressure in a noticeable way, so it’s best to build this practice into your regular vehicle maintenance routine.
Wheel alignment and tire rotation is another great way to keep the base of your vehicle operating smoothly. Without proper wheel alignment, your tires will wear unevenly. This can lead to premature tire replacement which drives up maintenance costs over a long period of time.
Rotating your tires also helps to prevent uneven wear that comes from the natural positioning characteristics of the tires on your vehicle. Additionally, many vehicles are front wheel drive and do more of the work of driving and steering the vehicle. Rotating tires helps spread the workload. Most tire experts suggest rotating your tires every 8,000 to 12,000 kilometers.
Keeping an eye on your tires is a fairly simple thing to manage for the average vehicle owner. A simple tire pressure gauge is available at any hardware store and keeping one of these in your vehicle or garage is a good idea.
Another thing to keep an eye on is tread depth. Tread is how much grip your tire has while driving and is especially important on wet, icy or snowy roads. You can use a Canadian quarter to check the depth of your tire tread. Simply insert the quarter into tire tread with the caribou facing down. If the nose of the caribou is visible while looking at the coin straight on, that means your tires are nearing the end of their lifespan and should be replaced.
Almost every vehicle owner runs into a situation where tires are damaged in some way. When this happens, the question arises of whether a tire can be repaired or whether it should just be replaced. Here’s a helpful list of conditions that will suggest your tire is likely beyond repair and should be replaced.
- Tire tread is below 2/32″. Regardless of other damage, this is too little tread to consider the tire worth saving.
- A hole larger than ¼” in the tire. Anything larger than this is beyond repair.
- Damage to the sidewall or shoulder of the tire.
- Broken or deformed bead wires
- Deterioration of rubber
- Bead damage
For issues less substantial than what is listed here, plug and patch repairs are possible. On occasion a tire specialist might suggest either a plug or a patch. Beware of this suggestion as the best practice is plug and patch. Licensed tire technicians at JW Auto Centers guarantee this solution if your tire is repairable.
JW Auto Centers is fully capable of guiding you through the process of selecting new tires for your vehicle as well. On top of knowing when to replace your tires, we offer assistance with determining which size is appropriate for your vehicle. At JW Auto Centers, you can expect competitive rates and expert service.