The Rubber Manufacturers Association has named June as National Tire Safety Month, with the purpose of raising awareness among drivers regarding proper tire maintenance and care. Properly-maintained tires not only look good, but they also improve vehicle performance, boost tire life, maintain good fuel economy and prevent breakdowns.
As we head out of June, let’s take a moment to become aware of how important tire safety is so we can protect ourselves, our passengers and other drivers on the road.
Top Tire Safety Tips
Let’s go over some important tire safety tips to be aware of as we all head out on our summer vacations, road trips and excursions to the beach.
- Check and adjust your tire pressure once per month and before big road trips
- Use the correct tire pressure specification to guide you, which you can find in the vehicle owner’s manual and imprinted on the driver’s door pillar
- Be sure to have your tires rotated every 8,000 miles to maximize life span (a good time to do this is at every oil change or every other)
- Inspect your tires each month for signs of wear and damage
- If you hit a pothole, pull over to safety and check for tire or rim damage
- Get your wheel alignment and tire balance checked once a year
- Stay on top of your tire tread, as worn tires are more at risk of hydroplaning
- When buying tires, ask your mechanic for the right type for your vehicle
For all-wheel drive vehicles in particular, you should rotate your tires regularly to ensure equal wear. Always make sure they all match and that they are the same design, brand and tread depth. When you mix tire brands, tread designs and depths can actually cause certain components in your driveline to fail.
All-wheel vehicles come equipped with additional components allowing your wheels to spin at different speeds and independently of each other, which is how your car keeps control in adverse weather conditions such as snow and rain. In a nutshell, mismatched tires will result in premature tire wear and drive line component failure.
Safely Navigating Potholes
Now that you know the importance of tire safety, we will give you some tips on how to safely navigate potholes – which always seem to be larger in diameter and more frequent in the summer!
- Drive carefully
Keep a wide distance between you and the vehicle in front, which gives you enough time to spot a pothole sooner to avoid it.
- Improve visibility
Switch on your windshield wipers if it’s raining and ensure your headlights are in working order before you leave.
- Keep an eye out for puddles
Potholes hide in deep puddles. Even small puddles can be very deep and filled with water. Looks can be deceiving!
- Avoid other cars
Refrain from swerving into an occupied lane to avoid hitting a pothole. Your blind spot could cause you to collide with someone.
How to Keep Car Damage to a Minimum
If you couldn’t avoid hitting a pothole, here’s how you can minimize the damage done to your vehicle.
- Slow down
When you spot pothole in time, slow down, releasing the brake. Coasting reduces the speed at time of impact, so your suspension can actually travel full range to absorb that impact better.
- Drive slowly
Driving slowly allows you to better maneuver around potholes, and if you do hit one, there won’t be as much damage because you’re going slow.
- Maintain a firm grip on the steering wheel
It’s possible to lose control of your vehicle when driving over an out-of-the-blue pothole. Grip your steering wheel tightly in an effort to maintain control.
- Hit the pothole square on
Straighten your wheel so you’re not hitting the hole at an angle, rolling gently through the hole.
- Maintain proper tire inflation
Over-inflated and under-inflated tires make damage worse when hitting a pothole. Also, if you have excessive wear and tear on your tires, or you have sidewall bulges, your tires can pop when navigating a pothole.
Contact Rick and Ray’s Auto Plaza
Here at Rick and Ray’s Auto Plaza, we offer a full range of tire and wheel services, such as auto hydraulic service, tires and wheel alignments. We work with lots of different makes and models, from domestic to Asian to European.