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How to Take Care of Your Tires

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Tires. Every vehicle has them, so it’s easy to take them for granted. At their best, tires become invisible, allowing you to forget they’re even there. That’s one of the reasons why it can be so easy to overlook them and their proper maintenance. Not doing your part to take care of them, however, can lead to safety risks, poor gas mileage, and early replacement. With a few easy habits, however, you can easily ensure you enjoy many miles with your rubber meeting the road.

Keep Them Clean

Since tires have the only direct contact with the road surface, it follows that they are also some of the dirtiest surfaces on your vehicle. As rubber is a natural material, when dirt, especially when mixed with pollutants and contaminants commonly found on the road surface, has a chance to stay on your tires, it can degrade the quality of the tires over time, leading to a worsening ride, and increased wear. Opting for a tire wash when using an automated car wash, or making sure to use a stiff-bristled brush and strong rinse when you’re washing your car yourself will ensure the tires stay clean and the rubber stays rejuvenated.

Go Easy on Them

One of the fastest ways to wear out your tires is by driving your vehicle aggressively. Quick acceleration and braking wreaks havoc with the tread on even the toughest tires. Since the friction between the road and the tires is what ultimately brings your vehicle to a stop, hard stops and skids are especially destructive. While you likely won’t be able to change your driving habits overnight, being more aware of any aggressive driving habits, and then working to change them over time, will result in a much longer lifespan for your tires.

Fill Them Up

Low air pressure is another leading cause of premature tire wear. With less air pressure to hold its shape, a tire settles and flattens, allowing more of its surface to touch the roadway at any given point. While this might be good for a race car driver, this extra friction is nothing but bad news for the average commuter. Keep a tire pressure gauge in your glove box, and check the pressure against the recommended pressures listed in your owner’s manual. You can even purchase a small air compressor which is powered by your auxiliary power port, to allow for quick fill-ups when the pressure drops just a few PSI.

Keep Them Rotated

Rotating your vehicle’s tires is one of the most routine, but also one of the most overlooked recommended maintenance items that can be performed on your vehicle. Some people see this procedure as an unnecessary expense, but that is completely not the case. Think of your set of tires like a basketball team. On the team, each player has an individual role, performing that role in tandem with the other members of the team to accomplish a common goal. Additionally, each member is put under a different amount of pressure by defenders, depending on where they are on the court.
This is similar to how a set of tires performs while you’re driving. While it can be easy to think of your tires as a unit which all experience similar forces at all times, this is almost never the case. Your front left tire experiences different forces than your right rear tire, different than your front right tire, and your left rear tire. In other words, literally each of your four tires is constantly experiencing different forces and stresses than the other three. This leads to different wear rates and patterns on each tire.
This phenomenon is normal, and happens in every car, however, it can create serious issues if you rarely or never have your tires rotated. These different wear rates and patterns end up wearing some tires out sooner than others, resulting in the need for early replacement. However, by regularly rotating your tires, you ensure that each tire is exposed to the different stress levels, resulting in even wear patterns, and longer lifespans for each tire.
Tires can be an expensive investment for your vehicle, and you want to make sure that investment lasts. With the right maintenance and care, your tires can last much longer, giving you peace of mind, and plenty of money saved.