There’s an old saying that reminds people to take care of their feet because our feet take us everywhere. The same is true for car tires. Whether shopping for the best in truck tires or those for a light-duty automobile, consumers should never buy cheap tires. This is not the place to skimp when it comes to purchasing one of the most important safety products on a vehicle.
With so many different types on the market today, everything from all-season to touring or racing and those designed for specific seasons, buying a set of these for a vehicle is often a daunting task. Once installed, here are the best tire care tips to keep drivers safe and save money in the process.
Check pressure regularly
When taking a vehicle in for an oil change, many vendors check tire pressure as a part of the service. However, auto experts at Allstate Insurance recommend consumers check the amount of air at least once a month.
This includes the spare and it’s best to check the pressure when the tires are cool and haven’t been driven in several hours. For every 10 degrees the temperature drops, the amount of pressure can be reduced by one to two PSI (pounds per square inch).
Safety and surfaces
Be sure to check pressure following occurrences when the tires have come into contact with curbs, potholes, or after driving on problematic surfaces like gravel roads or construction sites.
Sharp rocks, nails, and other pointed objects have the ability to puncture a tire regardless of its age or condition. A slow leak may lead to an eventual flat. An underinflated tire could create a state of unsafe driving conditions.
Identifying this problem sooner rather than later could mean the difference between an inexpensive repair compared to a more costly replacement.
Regular tire rotation
Depending on the manufacturer’s recommendations, often the number of miles traveled will coincide with the time tires are recommended to be rotated. According to Cars.com, in some cases, this will occur every 7,500 miles or six months. However, some newer car models can go up to 15,000 miles without an oil change and that’s too long to wait for a rotation.
Again, there are many oil change shops that are also tire vendors. These shops will perform both of these services at one location to save consumers time and money.
There are different reasons why regular rotation will save money and extend the life of tires. For vehicles with front-wheel-drive, these tires are performing most of the work. With most cars, the weight of the engine and transmission will place a bigger burden on these wheels. This is why it’s important to rotate tires on all models, including all-wheel and four-wheel-drive vehicles.
Check for wear-and-tear
During the time spent with a pressure gauge, take a few minutes to check for normal and unusual wear-and-tear. This includes the tread, sidewalls, areas around the valve stem and rim. Cracks, scratches, tears, uneven spots and bulges are all cause for concern. Look for subtle differences in tread wear that could signal a problem with the vehicle’s alignment especially with the front tires.
When in doubt, take the vehicle into a licensed mechanic or tire vendor to get their professional opinion. In the case of uneven wear, ensuring proper ongoing alignment exists will be less expensive than purchasing tires prematurely stemming from unnecessary wear.
Best tire purchasing options
Saving money often means shopping around for the best prices. Frugal living website The Balance Everyday reminds consumers the best times to buy tires are April and October. This is when they’re typically discounted in preparation for summer and winter months. Some tire vendors offer cash rebates with a select purchase or will sell as part of a “buy-four-get-one-free” package usually aside from seasonal sales.
By no means is this advice meant to convey waiting for tires to go on sale before purchasing new ones. When it’s necessary to replace one or all of the tires on a vehicle, safety trumps savings when it comes to making this important purchase.