Tire Safety Checklist: 9 Tips for Avoiding Breakdowns & Crashes

Tire failures are a leading cause of breakdowns and car accidents in the United States. But this problem could easily be avoided if drivers were willing to put a little more care and maintenance into their vehicles. If you’re here, it’s because you want to stay safe while on the road. The following tire safety checklist will help you do just that!

Table of Contents

  1. Check Your Tire Air Pressure Monthly
  2. Check Your Tread Depth
  3. Switch up the Rotation
  4. Make Sure Your Tires Are Balanced and Aligned
  5. Be on the Lookout for Irregular Wear
  6. Check on Your Spare Tires
  7. Drive Carefully
  8. Match Your Replacements to Your Existing Tires
  9. Do a Manual Check of Your Tire Pressure Monitoring System

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Check Your Tire Air Pressure Monthly

First on your tire safety tips checklist should be a monthly check of each tire’s air pressure. Keeping your tires full will help them last and will even improve your vehicle’s fuel economy. 

Thankfully, this is an easy enough task to complete on your own. Simply purchase a tire pressure gauge and follow the instruction in your vehicle’s manual. Keep in mind that tire pressure will change with hot and cold weather. So pay special attention during especially cold or warm times of the year.

You can also keep things simple by investing in a frequent car checkup with your local mechanic. Either way, you’ll be glad you took the time. 

Check Your Tread Depth

The tread depth of your tires will impact your vehicle’s ability to grip the road properly. Keep an eye on this detail by performing the “penny test” every few weeks. Simply place a penny into the groove of the tread. If you can see the crown of President Lincoln’s head, you know it’s time to get new tires.

Switch up the Rotation

You’ve probably heard that you should rotate your tires every so often. But what exactly does this mean, and how often should you “rotate?”

Essentially, you can rotate your tires by switching each tire’s position to a different one. You can move your back tires to the front and vice versa. Or, you can switch the tires diagonally. Either way, you ensure that your tires wear down evenly by performing periodic rotations. 

And by ensuring your tires wear evenly, you boost your fuel economy and keep your vehicle safe. As a good rule of thumb, you should rotate your tires every 5,000 miles.

Check Tire Balance & Alignment

This is a step on your tire safety checklist that you may be less familiar with. And yet, it is just as important (if not more so) as the other items on this list.

Tire balancing is the act of making sure your tires roll smoothly so that you have a comfortable ride. The best way to keep your tires balanced is to have new tires professionally installed by a tire technician. 

Wheel alignment is the act of making sure that your tires travel in a straight line. As you might imagine, misalignment can have disastrous consequences like causing an accident or damaging your vehicle. If you believe your tires are misaligned, you should take your vehicle to a mechanic immediately.

Be on the Lookout for Irregular Wear

Of course, your tires will wear down over time. But certain environments can cause that process to speed up. If you overfill your tires or keep them misaligned, you may begin to notice irregular wear. 

Healthy tires will wear down evenly. If you notice that one tire looks more worn than another, you know there’s an issue. 

Check on Your Spare Tires

Even the most carefully maintained tires are susceptible to damage. If you find yourself stranded with a flat, you’ll need to use your spare. And if that spare is old and useless, it won’t get you anywhere fast.

A good rule of thumb is to replace your spare tire after the warranty for it has expired. Even though it isn’t being used, the rubber in the tire may become porous and cracked over time. This can leave you in a bad situation if you aren’t careful to keep that spare up-to-date.

Drive Carefully

This should go without saying, but you would be surprised by how much poor driving can affect the integrity of your tires. If you tend to speed erratically or slam on the brakes frequently, your tires won’t last nearly as long as they should. Be patient and careful on the roads and your tires will thank you for it. 

Match Your Replacements to Your Existing Tires

When you are updating your front or back set of tires, it can be tempting to go with whatever is the best deal at the time. But for best results, you should always purchase a set that matches the existing ones. Check your owner’s manual if you need guidance on what types of tires work best for your vehicle.

Do a Manual Check of Your Tire Pressure Monitoring System

Most new vehicles have a modern tire pressure monitoring system. If this applies to your vehicle, it can be tempting to rely solely on this system. However, it isn’t as reliable as your eyes and hands. Just a few minutes each month will make all of the difference for your tire maintenance. 

Invest in These Tire Safety Tips

Your tires are the only part of your vehicle that makes contact with the road. Naturally, this makes them a very important component of your vehicle’s overall health. Follow this tire safety checklist to keep your tires properly inflated, aligned, and balanced. As a result, you’ll improve your fuel economy and avoid more accidents whenever you travel.

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