Tap the Secrets of Long Life Car Tires

The tires on your car, truck, SUV or van don’t just help the wheels go round. Tires play an integral part in safety, both for proper braking action as well as sure movement. Your car tires also play a big part in how much it costs you to operate your vehicle. Yet tires are not inexpensive, so it is important that you do everything you can to take advantage of the secrets to long life for your car tires.

First, understand that there are few hard and fast rules for how long a particular set of tires may last. Yes, when you buy many name brand tires, you may get a guarantee for a set number of miles which is great. This can help you obtain replacements at relatively little or no cost if the tires fail far earlier than anticipated.

But exactly how long your car tires will last depends on a number of different factors which include:

– the types of road surfaces on which you operate your car – the temperature of those roads can also matter since hot pavement in particular can contribute to tire wear
– the overall condition of your vehicle
– how well you maintain the car tires – most require attention at some regular interval for best results

Let’s take road surface first. To a large degree, most of us cannot help the type of roads we drive on; we are at the mercy of state and local governments to maintain roadways properly and when they don’t, our vehicles suffer for it. Yet we can try to avoid certain roads that are particularly bad or seem soft and almost soupy on the hottest of summer days. Roads being resurfaced, for example, can be especially rough on some vehicles and their tires, particularly if we try to speed along them as if the road was in great shape. We can often limit the distance of our travel on nasty days if we postpone more luxury-based trips for a better day. Consider this for your own situation.

Next, your vehicle health often plays a big role in how well your tires will perform. As part of this, you always want to purchase the correct tires and tire size for your make and model of vehicle. Putting on smaller or larger tires may not be in your best interest, especially if you want to be economical in vehicle operation costs.

Also, rough driving often leads to wheels that no longer respond properly to your best attempts to steer. You frequently see vehicles that have to traverse wintry or pothole-marked roads develop hard steering issues. This condition can usually be corrected through professional wheel alignment which some vehicles may need twice or more each year.

Wheel alignment bridges us into maintaining your tires. Problematic wheel alignment will wear your tires unnecessarily. But you also usually need to rotate your tires on a regular basis; many garages and car care or tire centers will perform tire rotation and alignment at the same time as part of a usually low-cost maintenance package.

Between visits to a garage or tire center, there is much you can do as well. One is to know precisely how much pressure, measured in per square inch or psi, should exist in your tires. Your vehicle owner manual along with your new tire warranty will usually spell this out for you.

Use the setting recommended rather than guessing or simply using what the tire pressure device is already set to deliver. This step insures you will have the correct pressure for your tires and vehicle without the risk of over- or under-inflation. Appreciate, too, that it is often easier to spot under-inflation, since you can see a bulge in a tire as it rests against the road surface, than you can over-inflation.

How often should you check tire pressure? Every week is a good gauge, particularly if you drive frequently. You should also check tire pressure before and after every long road trip, especially if you must drive during less than ideal road conditions. Some people make a point to check tire pressure every time they refill their fuel which isn’t a bad idea at all.

At least twice a month, you should also inspect your tires for signs of wear or damage. With this visual inspection, you might catch a nail or a bit of embedded metal or glass before it carves into your tread and hurts your tire. If you have a tire gauge – and you can usually get a decent one at your local auto parts store for just dollars – you should also check the amount of tread on a tire as indication of whether it is time to get a fresh set. For optimum results, you usually want to replace all tires at once rather than piece meal.

Before you buy any tires, however, do some research. There are a number of good online resources for checking out information about various car components, including tires. For example, you can ask around on Web-based message boards concentrating on auto care to get recommendations for the best types of tires for your make and model. But compare any information you get against the manufacturer advisory found in your vehicle owner manual. You want tires that have a long life and promote good safety and fuel economy.

In fact, when you maintain your car tires well, you do more than save on the cost of replacement tires. For example, your tires play a significant role in fuel consumption and efficiency as well as safety. Under-inflated and over-inflated tires not only wear faster and present a safety hazard, they can also cost you fuel at a time when gas prices often hit record peaks. Unless you have money to waste – or burn, in this case – you want to avoid operating your vehicle with tires that are not inflated to the proper pressure.

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