engine capabilities, gas mileage and overall handling of a vehicle
are very important to car owners. But how many people really realize
just how important tires are to a vehicles performance?
Tires are much more than just those round, black, rubber things
keeping your wheel rims from hitting the pavement. In fact, tires
are responsible for how your vehicle responds to your driving
and steering. They can increase the gas mileage you get out of
your vehicle, and they help keep you stay in control.
tires do all this for you, so what should you do for them? How can you keep your
tires in good condition? There are two basic things you should do to increase
the efficiency of your vehicle, keep you and your passengers safe and extend the
life of your tires. These key elements are maintaining proper inflation pressure
and regularly rotating the tires.
consumers are unaware that the inflation pressure listed on the tire itself is
the tires maximum pressure, not its ideal pressure. To determine your vehicles
optimum pressure, its best to consult your owners manual. If the manual
has no specifications, there are other places you can look to find what you need
to know. Most vehicles also have a sticker with information on correct tire pressure.
Look for your vehicles sticker on the door jam or doorpost, glove compartment
door, or on the fuel door. The sticker will tell you the pressure you should maintain
to get the best performance out of the vehicle, even the correct tire size and
maximum vehicle load.
you have determined your tires ideal pressure, its important to check
the pressure once a month and before any long trips. Its also important
to know how the outside temperature can affect your tires.
tire pressure when a tire is cold ensures that you will get an accurate
reading because its natural for tire pressure to increase as you drive.
Proper air pressure extends tread life, improves safety and reduces fuel consumption
— all vital factors in saving energy and protecting the environment. So,
to avoid over-inflating or under-inflating, you should always check the pressure
before your tires warm up. For the same reasons, you should never reduce the air
pressure in a hot tire to try to achieve the desired inflation pressure. Doing
so will cause your tires, at normal temperatures, to be under-inflated. Also,
never reduce tire pressures to increase traction in snow, ice or mud.
further extend the life of your tires, they should be rotated on a regular basis.
Tire rotation, which should be performed every 5,000 to 8,000 miles, extends
a tires tread life by equalizing treadwear, said Art Michalik, director
of marketing communications for Yokohama Tire Corporation.
Rotation will also maintain accurate handling and response and optimize traction.
is important because tires wear differently. Tires on a rear-wheel drive vehicle
and a front-wheel drive vehicle will all exhibit different wear patterns. Also,
the tires on any one vehicle wear differently. They are all mounted in different
positions and some are drive tires while others are not. This means all four tires
will wear in different areas. Rotation will allow them to wear evenly so that
one area wont wear out quicker than another.
seasons require different characteristics in tires. In
winter driving specifically, it is important to remember that as a tire wears,
snow traction is reduced. Tires that are worn close to the tread-wear indicators
have significantly reduced traction and should not be used on snow-covered roads.
proper tire inflation and rotating your tires while monitoring tread wear will
help you extend the life of your tires by as much as 25 percent. So, whether youre
a new driver or a veteran, maintaining proper pressure and keeping up with a regular
rotation schedule will make your time on the road safer, better for your tires,
and your cars performance.