• Buy a tire gauge and keep it handy in your car at all times. It will inform you if you need to add more air to your tires.
• Check your tire pressure at least once per month, and especially before a long trip. Underinflation can cause damage that may lead to tire failure. And overinflation can cause uneven wear plus handling and stopping problems. Use the manufacturer's recommended air pressure as a guide.
• During wet weather, slow down. As your speed decreases, the tire footprint (the amount of the tire's tread contacting the road surface) increases, providing better traction.
• Rotate your tires every 6,000 miles. If your tires show uneven wear, ask your automotive service professional to check for and correct any misalignment, imbalance or other mechanical problem involved before rotation.
• Check your vehicle alignment periodically. Have an automotive professional check your alignment if you notice your vehicle is pulling to one side.
• Inspect and measure your tire tread. You can do this yourself by placing a penny in the tread groove and if you can see the top of Lincoln's head, then it is time to replace your tires.
• Check the tire sidewalls to make sure there are no gouges, cuts, bulges or other irregularities.
• Don't overload your vehicle as it can create excessive heat inside your tires.
• Have your tire balance checked periodically. An unbalanced tire and wheel assembly may result in irregular wear.
Remember, by checking your tires regularly, you can keep your vacation drives safe, enjoyable and affordable.
NADA is a member of the "Be Tire Smart-Play Your Part" national safety campaign, sponsored by the Rubber Manufacturers Association. For more information, visit www.nada.org. Performing periodic tire checks can be an effective way to stay safe on the road and reduce fuel costs.