Your vehicle’s tires experience tremendous amounts of wear and tear, for they’re the only part of the vehicle that is actually in contact with the road. Every mile you drive will necessarily wear your tires down some, but there are steps you can take to prolong tread life. Here’s how to make your vehicle’s tires last as long as possible.
Check the Tire Pressure Regularly
First, you should check the air pressure of each tire regularly. Air pressure often changes over time, and improperly inflated tires can wear down faster if an excess amount of the tread comes into contact with the pavement.
As a general baseline, check your tire pressure once a month. Tires can slowly lose pressure over time through minuscule leaks and even through the rubber itself. A monthly check simply makes sure they’re never too far off of your vehicle’s manufacturer-recommended pressure.
Also, test the tire pressure anytime there’s a difference of at least 10 degrees between daily temperatures. Every 10-degree change can result in a tire pressure change of 1 pound per square inch, so a significant temperature change can significantly alter how hard or soft your tires are running.
Finally and most importantly, check your tire pressure anytime the tire pressure monitoring system signals that one or more of your vehicle’s tires is underinflated. This system automatically monitors tire pressure, and any warning the system issues should be seen to.
If you’re unfamiliar with the tire pressure monitoring system, check your vehicle owner’s manual to see what the system’s warning light looks like. The system became standard in 2007, and it signals a warning by activating a light on the dashboard.
Rotate Your Tires on Schedule
Where a tire is located on your vehicle affects how much the tire wears and where on the tread it sustains the most wear.
For example, the front tires on front-wheel-drive vehicles lose tread faster than the rear tires, because the front ones are responsible for providing acceleration and turning. The rear tires simply ride along, not actually providing power or turning the car.
Your vehicle’s set of tires will last longer if the tires wear evenly than if one tire loses tread faster than the others, and one of the best ways to keep tread wear even is to rotate the tires periodically. Rotating tires simply involves moving the tires from one place on the vehicle to another, in a specific pattern that ensures each tire ends up in each spot over time.
Exactly how often you should rotate your vehicle’s tires depends on your vehicle model, but a general recommendation is to rotate every 5,000 miles. Depending on how often you change your vehicle’s oil, this may be every oil change or every-other oil change, and it takes just a few minutes to add this service to a standard oil change appointment.
Check Your Vehicle’s Alignment
The alignment of your vehicle refers to what direction the vehicle’s tires point when the steering wheel is straight. The tires should be aimed straight ahead when driving straight, of course, but potholes, bumps, curbs and other obstacles can throw off the alignment slightly.
For instance, rather than pointed straight ahead when driving forward, your vehicle’s tire might be pointing outward, inward or to either side. Moreover, one tire may be perfectly aligned while another could be off by several degrees.
Any tire that’s not properly aligned will experience excess wear, because it drags across the pavement slightly. Having your vehicle’s alignment checked periodically (and corrected if it’s off) will prevent this excess wear.
Even with the best care, your vehicle will eventually need new tires. When the time for a new set of tires comes, search the inventory of new tires at Evans Tire & Service Centers.