Tire Maintenance Tips for Safe Driving on the Road

When it comes to staying safe on the road, your car’s tires provide the traction and support you need to keep your vehicle moving. Proper tire maintenance can go a long way in ensuring both your safety and the safety of others, and in many cases, can prevent accidents. 

Consider the following tire maintenance tips to help you remain safe on the road.

The Dangers of Tire Blowouts

Poor tire maintenance can lead to a range of problems, including blowouts, which can cause serious accidents. Unlike a flat tire that loses air slowly over time, a tire blowout occurs when there’s a sudden loss of air pressure and often resembles an explosion. 

When a tire blows out while driving, the abrupt loss of traction can cause a vehicle to swerve and lose control. This is why accidents due to blowouts are common, especially when traveling at high speeds. 

Tires can burst for many reasons, including: 

  • Overload due to excess weight
  • Under-inflation
  • Over-inflation
  • Wear and tear
  • Age
  • Poor overall maintenance 

According to the National Transportation Safety Board, roughly 19,000 accidents and 733 fatalities occur annually due to tire blowouts and similar malfunctions. 

Essential Tire Maintenance Tips

Fortunately, when it comes to tire maintenance tips, there’s plenty you can do to prevent tire blowouts and other tire-related malfunctions. 

Make sure to pay attention to these six key elements of tire maintenance:

  1. Tire Pressure
  2. Tire Treads
  3. Tire Age
  4. Tire Balancing and Alignment
  5. Tire Rotation
  6. Tire Size

1. Tire Pressure

One of the most critical components in tire safety is air pressure. Regularly checking and maintaining the pressure of your vehicle’s tires is one of the best tire safety tips to prevent a blowout.

In many cases, over-inflation or under-inflation can result in premature tire wear, uneven treads, and tire malfunctions. Checking your tire’s pressure is a simple procedure that can be done without a visit to the mechanic. 

You can purchase a small, inexpensive tire pressure gauge and reference your car manufacturer’s recommended pounds per square inch (PSI). You can add or reduce air as needed.

2. Tire Treads

The depth and pattern of your tire’s treads significantly affect your ability to accelerate, turn, and come to a stop. As tires wear away, their ability to grip the road decreases, leading to longer stopping distances and reduced handling, especially in wet and icy conditions.

To ensure proper tire tread, you should regularly inspect your tires for wear and tear. The tread depth can be measured using a handy tire tread depth gauge that you can purchase at any auto parts store. 

Tire experts recommend the minimum tread depth on a tire to be 2/32 of an inch, but you should never wait that long to replace your tires. When in doubt, consult with a tire expert or a trusted mechanic.

3. Tire Age

Tires age whether they are driven on or not. Even though a tire may have a lot of remaining tread (see #2 above), the rubber in your tires breaks down over time and becomes more prone to failure – which may not be visibly detectable.

Most auto manufacturers recommend replacing tires over 6 years old, regardless of the tread wear. Old tires can easily be overlooked and can turn into a deadly mistake – having been the cause of many fatal accidents. An analysis of crashes in the National Automotive Sampling System from 2005-2007 estimates that 90 people die and an additional 3,200 are injured each year in crashes in which tire aging was a factor.

4. Tire Balancing and Alignment

When it comes to tire safety tips, balance and alignment are essential to maintaining a smooth ride and preventing premature tire wear. 

Whenever your car’s wheels are not correctly balanced, this can lead to poor handling, vibrations, and excess wear and tear on your tires. One of the easiest ways to extend the life of your tires and prevent a tire blowout is by balancing them according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Another way to avoid potential accidents is by having your vehicle’s alignment checked regularly. After substantial driving, a car’s wheels can often become angled and out of place. This simple fix can ensure a smoother and safer ride and dramatically extend your tires’ longevity.

5. Tire Rotation

Regular tire rotation is another important method that can help reduce the likelihood of a blowout. Over time, front and rear tires wear differently, but swapping them out can ensure that they wear more evenly. Rotating also helps improve your car’s overall handling and traction.

The recommended tire rotation interval can vary depending on the vehicle, your load, and the tires you use. It’s wise to consult a tire professional to determine the best tire rotation schedule.

6. Tire Size

Ensuring that you have the correct tire size for your vehicle is critical. Using the right tire size can improve handling and traction and can benefit your tire’s health. 

You should consult your owner’s manual or a tire professional to determine the correct tire size for your vehicle.

Tire Maintenance Tips Can Improve Driver Safety

As with other car components, regular maintenance of your tires is essential for safe driving. Neglect can lead to serious accidents from blowouts, poor traction, and unsafe handling.

Check your tires occasionally, and don’t ignore any early warning signs. Proper tire maintenance can help save lives. 

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