Ensuring your vehicle is in road ready condition is the capstone in the protection of yourself and your loved ones, and reducing overall preventable maintenance issues. An important piece in your vehicle’s regular maintenance is the health of your tires, improperly maintained tires can lead to a variety of issues that detract from your vehicle’s overall safety, and can put an unnecessary burden on finances. We’ll be looking at the steps you can take at home to make sure your tires are safe, and what we can do here to keep them in top shape.
First we’ll touch on what to look for during those at home visual inspections of your tires, which you should be done monthly. Uneven wear on the edges of your tires indicate that your tires may need to be rotated, ideally you should get a tire rotation every 5,000 to 7,000 miles. During a tire rotation your tires are moved from one wheel to another, allowing for an even tread to develop. Also, when you’re at home, you should be looking for over inflation and under inflation, an overinflated tire will cause the middle of the tire to encounter increased wear, while an underinflated tire will lead to increased wear to the edges of your tires and could even cause your vehicle to pull to the side with the under inflated tire when driving. To combat this, you should be checking the air pressure of your tires and keeping them within the range provided by your vehicle’s manufacturer in the door jam. When you inflate your tires, make sure the PSI (Pounds per square inch) is within the previously mentioned parameters. You can check this with a store bought tire pressure gauge, it’s not recommended to use one available at gas stations as these are commonly inaccurate due to misuse. When you’re checking your tire pressure, remember that tire pressure recommendations are meant for colder tires so make sure to check at ambient temperatures before your tires have been driven for too long. This is because warmer temperatures within the tire will lead to increased air pressure readings, meaning when your tire cools down it could be below the necessary parameters.
Massachusetts law requires your tires to have a tread depth of 2/32” in order to pass state inspection. Here at North End Motors, we require all of our vehicle to be at 4/32” in order to be offered for sale. A tire with treads at the state minimum requirement will take longer to fully stop than a vehicles with treads that measure at 4/32”, taking upwards of 100 feet more to come to a halt at highway speeds (70 mph). So, how can you tell what depth is left on your treads? For one, you could purchase a tire depth gauge, a tool that will measure the depth of your tires’ treads. Or, you could simply find a quarter or penny. Using the quarter, place it in the inner edge, the center, and the outer edge, if you can see the top of Washington’s head, you’ll want to consider looking for tires as your treads are below 4/32” which as we know affects your stopping distance. With the penny, you’ll place it in the same locations, if you can see the top of Lincoln’s head your tire is below 2/32”. This indicates that you should immediately be looking to replace it as your stopping distance at this depth is a major safety issue. In this case, you should also be seeing bald strips on sections of your tire, which is itself a good indicator that you should be replacing your tires.
Now that we know what to look for, how can you extend the lifespan of your tires? Luckily in addition to your monthly tire inspections at home you can have tire rotations done, as mentioned above, as well as having your tires balanced, and getting your wheels aligned. Your front and rear wheels see different levels of stress when braking and steering, typically breaking first occurs with your back tires before your front tires begin to break. This leads to uneven tread wear on your front versus your rear tires. During your tire rotation, your tires will be placed in different locations in the front and rear, and vice versa to ensure even tread wear. In performance vehicles, it’s common to see that their tires can only be rotated in a certain direction, only allowing the mechanic to move your tires from front to rear. Now, balancing your tires should be done when they’re first installed and if they’re removed for a repair such as filling a puncture or replacing a tire outright. For tire balances, small weights are added to each tire, which works to reduce vibration from the tire and wheel. This helps extend your tires’ life and ultimately avoid uneven wear. Lastly, wheel alignment is the measurement of the positioning of your wheels in relation to each other, according to the vehicle manufacturer’s specifications. When your wheels are out of alignment you’ll see uneven wear, a common symptom of improper tire maintenance, as well as poor vehicle handling and worse fuel economy. Here at North End Motors our expert team of Service Advisors and Mechanics will be able to diagnose symptoms of worsening tire health to determine exactly what needs to be done to get your tires back to top shape and with any other issues in our in-house service department.
At North End Motors, your safety is our first and foremost concern. With our expert team in our full-fledged service department, and a sales staff that works closely with them, we ensure that every vehicle we provide for sale to our greater community is up to our highest standards. If you’re concerned about any issues in your vehicle, and would like a team as dedicated as ours to help, please make sure to call 781-304-4374. Thank you for sharing your time with us, and we look forward to welcoming you the North End Family!
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The article above is a summary of information gathered from research on tire safety and maintenance, not written by a certified mechanic, this information is not meant to replace research undertaken by the consumer but meant to supplement their search. Consumers should consult with a professional mechanic when making decisions relating to their vehicle. North End Motors Inc. is not to be held liable for misinterpretation or misattribution of the above article as it relates to the decision to engage in any financial undertaking.