Tire Maintenance is the Foundation of Roadway Safety
Properly maintaining your tires is exactly where the rubber meets the road for driving safety.
According to the National Highway Safety Administration, studies demonstrate that maintaining proper tire pressure, following your vehicle’s tire and load limits, inspecting your tires for cuts and irregularities and avoiding road hazards are the most important preventative measures against having a tire blowout, go flat or experience tread separation.
“One of the most frequent calls for help our Roadway Customer Service team receives is for someone who has a flat tire,” said NTTA System and Incident Management Director Marty Lege. “We’re happy to help drivers change a tire, but sudden loss of tire pressure while driving can make a vehicle difficult to steer or control and can pose a danger for drivers.”
The following tips will help you understand proper tire maintenance:
Know your tire’s limits – Your vehicle manufacturer advises you of the recommended tire size and inflation pressure and the maximum occupant and cargo weight. This information is included in vehicle owner’s manuals and is also affixed to your car either on the vehicle door edge or post, on the glove box door or inside the trunk lid. Always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations and warnings.
Maintain proper tire pressure – Air pressure is best determined when the vehicle has been sitting idle, and the temperature of the air inside the tires is low. Check and record the pressure on each of your tires. If the tire pressure is too high, slowly release air by gently pressing on the valve stem with the edge of your tire gauge until the tire reaches the correct pressure. If the tire pressure is too low, add air at a service station, ensuring that all tires have the correct pressure.
Install the correct size of tire – When purchasing new tires, buy the same size as the vehicle’s original tires or another size recommended by the vehicle manufacturer.
Inspect tire tread – Your tire’s tread provides gripping action and traction to prevent your vehicle from slipping and sliding, especially during wet or icy conditions. Tires are made with built-in treadwear indicators. When it is time to replace your tires, the raised sections between the tread grooves will appear to be even with the outside of the tread. Another method of checking tire tread is to place a penny in the tread with President Lincoln’s head upside down and facing you. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, it’s time for new tires.
Maintain tire balance and alignment – Have your tires regularly rotated and balanced to maximize the life of your tires and provide comfortable control of the vehicle.