"We know many drivers may be tempted to put off vehicle maintenance to save money," said David Campbell of GM Goodwrench. "But neglecting your tires can cost more money in the long run and put you, your passengers and other drivers at risk if your tire fails on the road."
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 660 fatalities and 33,000 injuries occur each year as a result of crashes attributed to low tire pressure.
Here are four things you need to know to care for your tires:
1. Rotate Tires
Because each tire on a vehicle performs different tasks, they wear at different rates. Regular rotations allow tires to wear and wear out evenly, minimizing tire noise and allowing tires to be replaced in sets of four, which is preferable. Check the owner's manual for recommended rotation intervals, but every 7,500 miles is the average.
Irregular tread wear occurs fastest when the tire is at full tread depth, so the first rotation is especially important.
2. Check Tire Pressure
Underinflated or overinflated tires can cause premature or irregular wear, poor handling and reduced fuel economy. To find the recommended tire pressure for your vehicle, look on the vehicle door edge, door post, glove box door or inside the trunk lid. It also appears in the owner's manual.
The air in tires is measured in pounds per square inch, or psi. The simple act of regular tire pressure checks can help maximize tire performance and durability, save fuel and help reduce the risk of tire failure. Digital gauges make tire pressure checks easy, so never "eyeball" tires because they can look fine even when they're underinflated.
Even in vehicles equipped with tire pressure monitoring systems, Goodwrench recommends checking them at least once a month-including the spare-when the tires are cold (the vehicle hasn't been driven for three hours).
3. Check Tread Depth
The tread connects a tire to the road. When that tread is worn, the tire can't make optimum contact with the pavement. Worn or bald tires are especially dangerous in wet conditions.
Tire wear depends on several factors, including driving style and tire maintenance habits. Tire tread gauges are inexpensive and can be found at auto parts stores. One way to know when to replace your tires is when tread wear indicators appear. These "wear bars" look like narrow strips of smooth rubber across the tread.
4. Don't Overload Your Vehicle
A vehicle tire placard also shows the maximum load of the vehicle. An overloaded vehicle puts excessive wear on tires as well as vital suspension components. Remember that load also includes baggage carriers and trailer weight.
For more tire care information or to locate your nearest Goodwrench technician, please visit www.goodwrench.com.