The four tires on your vehicle are the only things separating you from the road. Are you giving them as much attention as they deserve? According to studies conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on tire-related crashes, the leading cause of tire failure is poor inflation.
How can you ensure that your tires are ready for the road? First, inspect your tires for uneven wear patterns on the tread, cracks, foreign objects, or other signs of wear or trauma. Remove bits of glass and other foreign objects wedged in the tread.
When inspecting, you want to look for:
- Excessive or uneven tread wear, which may indicate improper inflation or steering and suspension misalignment;
- Cracks or bulges on the sidewalls or tread;
- Chunking of the tread or any indication of tread separation from the carcass;
- Signs of puncture, or nails, screws, glass, pieces of stone or any foreign object imbedded in the tire.
- Make sure your tire valves have valve caps.
- Check tire pressure before going on a long trip.
- Do not overload your vehicle. Check the tire information placard or owner’s manual for the maximum recommended load for the vehicle. Overloading is the second leading cause of tire failure, next to under inflation. All tires are designed to operate within a maximum load range designated by a code on the tire sidewall. Exceeding this can result in both excessive wear and reduced tire life due to structural damage, including the potential for sudden failure.
- If you are towing a trailer, remember that some of the weight of the loaded trailer is transferred to the towing vehicle.
- 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.
- Remember to check your tires once a month!