Tires are the foundation on which your vehicle runs. Proper tire care and staying safe on the road involves more than just keeping an eye on the tread. Below are three tire safety tips that all car owners should keep in mind:
Maintain Proper PSI
Don’t underestimate the importance of keeping your tires inflated to the manufacturer’s recommended pounds per square inch (PSI). Overinflated tires wear at a faster rate and are more prone to a blowout if they hit a pothole or foreign object in the road.
Underinflated tires also are more prone to blowouts, reduce fuel efficiency and experience increased friction within the tire. Increased resistance causes heat inside the tire, which degrades the components and ages the tire prematurely.
Check your tire pressure regularly and adjust the pressure to meet the manufacturer’s specifications.
Be Aware of Issues with Steel Belts
Vibrations and/or thumping noise while driving could indicate a slipped or broken steel belt. Today’s tires are constructed using a series of steel belts or cords to provide an inner core of support and structure, and problems with belts can sometimes occur.
Slipped belts most often happen on older tires as a result of an age-related breakdown of component materials. Broken belts result from a variety of causes, including an encounter with debris or other road hazards, improper mounting, aging of the tire and manufacturing defects.
Improperly repaired flat tires can allow moisture to penetrate the tire, resulting in rusted, weakened belts. A proper flat-tire repair involves taking the tire off the wheel and sealing it both from the inside and the outside. Merely plugging a flat tire should never be considered a permanent fix.
A tire with a belt issue is a safety hazard and needs to be replaced right away.
Pay Attention to the Tire Load Index
Your vehicle was manufactured to a variety of specifications, including a maximum capacity to carry or pull a weight load. Tires are an integral part of this equation and it’s important never to exceed the weight load that your tires are designed to handle.
Load index information is listed on the tire’s sidewall after the tire size information. The higher the number, the greater the load-carrying capacity of the tire. While most passenger tires have single-number indexes of 75-100, light truck tires list two load indexes to accommodate their frequent use on vehicles with dual wheels.
If you don’t expect to tow or haul anything with your vehicle, your primary concern about tire load index is to ensure that any replacement tires you purchase meet or exceed the original equipment specifications. If you do plan to tow or carry heavy loads, you’ll need to make sure your tires’ load index rating is sufficient to handle the total weight of the loaded vehicle, the trailer and the items being towed. Exceeding tire load capacity is a safety hazard and should never be attempted.
Tire safety is important. It’s a good idea to inspect your tires regularly to make sure they have sufficient tread for safe driving and are free from cracks, bulges or other issues. If it’s time to replace them, you can grab a great deal during the AAA Car Care Plus Summer Tire Sale.