Tires are often one of the most neglected and forgotten parts of our vehicles, yet they are the only separation between us and the road. Our Service and Parts experts at OpenRoad have shared a few tire tips below for your maximum driving safety.
1) Make sure your tires are properly inflated
Inflate your tires every month for safety. You can save up to $0.04 per litre or $0.17 per gallon in fuel costs with proper tire pressure.
Always inflate your tires when they are cold, after your vehicle has been stationary for three hours or more. The pressure in hot tires can be as much as 28 – 42 kPa or 4 – 6 Psi higher than cold tires, reflecting inaccurate pressure readings. Remember to inflate your spare tire, as you never know when it will be needed. Never overinflate your tires, as it reduces handling and your grip on the road.
Each vehicle has its own required tire pressure. Your front and rear tires may require different pressures. Find your tire pressures in your owner’s manual, on your driver’s door or frame tire label, or inside your glove compartment door. Note that tires lose about 14 kPa or 2 Psi of pressure each month, and 50% of Canadian vehicles have at least one tire that is not properly inflated.
2) Tire rotations allow for longer-lasting, safer tires
Make sure you arrange for a tire rotation every 8,000-12,500 kilometres or 5,000-8,000 miles. Your front and rear tires tend to wear at different rates, so have your tires rotated to ensure equalized wear. This is both for safety and economical reasons.
Front tires tend to wear much faster than your rear tires, since a lot of pressure is placed on your front tires when you turn into a corner. Tire wear even affects balanced handling, and, if neglected, your front tires will eventually end up having less tread and less grip than your rear tires. Uneven wheel alignment can also cause uneven tire wear.
Tire rotations can also extend the life of your tires, delaying the need to spend hundreds and thousands of dollars to replace them.
3) Check for rubber breakdown on your tires
Extended exposure to heat and sunlight accelerates the rubber breakdown in your tires, so be sure to check them annually to make sure they are still running optimally. Also check for cuts, abrasions and wear and tear.
Your tires have tread wear indicators moulded into the grooves of the tread. When your tires have worn to the point where the indicators are flush with the surface of the tire tread, it’s absolutely time to replace your tires. At that point, your tires have very little grip on the road, which can be hazardous especially in wet road conditions. Traction and handling are compromised as a tire wears down.
Sources: Adapted from OpenRoad Driver Magazine, Transport Canada, NHTSA National Highway Traffic Safety Administration