On any given day, you walk out to your car or truck, hop in, and take off. The tires on your vehicle obviously play an important role as to transporting safely, but people often overlook tires and keeping them maintained. Keeping a set of tires maintained and cared for will result in a long, safe life for them. We’ve teamed up with Toyo Tires to discuss the importance of tire maintenance and a few simple tips to ensure your tires last a long time.
Proper inflation of tires is critical. If the amount of air in the tires isn’t correct, it is dangerous to drive on. In fact, in recent searches by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, facts have shown about 30-percent of cars and trucks have at least one tire under-inflated by 8 psi or more. The leading cause of tire failure isn’t from ordinary wear and tear. It’s actually due to under-inflated tires or overloaded vehicles.
So, how can this be prevented? Toyo recommends you purchase an accurate tire pressure gauge and check the pressures at least once a month along with general overall condition. Something that takes just a few seconds can decide whether or not your tires will allow you to make it to your destination. If you’re unsure about what your tire pressures should be, the proper amount will be listed in your owners manual or on the tire itself.
For those of you who have upgraded to a larger or different tire, same goes to you. The correct pressures will be listed on the sidewall of your tire. Not only will this ensure safety and longevity of the tire, but correct pressures will also increase fuel economy.
NOTE: Always check the tires pressures while they are cold. If you check them after they have been driving, the pressure will not be accurate. When you drive, the friction between the road and the tires will cause pressure inside the tire giving you a false reading.
- Never “bleed” or reduce air pressure when tires are hot. It is normal for pressures to build up as a result of driving.
- Make sure all tire valves and extensions are equipped with valve caps with rubber gaskets to keep out dirt and moisture.
- Have a new valve stem assembly installed whenever a tire is replaced.
- Underinflation or overloading creates excessive heat and can lead to tire failure, which could result in vehicle damage and/or serious injury or death.
Tire rotation is probably the most overlooked item on the maintenance list. The purpose of regularly rotating your tires, big or small, is to achieve equal wear for all of the tires on the vehicle. Rotation is important because each tire is different and loaded with different weights meaning they will wear differently. To ensure the tires are always wearing the same, you can simply swap them around.
When you’re upgrading or replacing to a new tire, you should always have them properly balanced. Routine inspections for balance and rotations will extend the life of your tires and make your driving more enjoyable. Tires can be affected by everyday driving so it is important to make sure they’re up to par.
We’ve gone over the importance of inflation, rotation, and balancing. Now, how critical is the alignment of your vehicle on tires? Correct wheel alignment can, like others mentioned above, extend the life of your tires. Toyo Tires is here to help you identify if your vehicle is out of alignment and explains what the alignment process includes and defines common alignment settings such as positive and negative camber and toe-in and toe-out.
Misalignment of wheels in the front or rear, improperly operating brakes or shock absorbers, bent wheels, worn bushings, and any other mechanical problems can cause uneven and rapid tread wear. Each of these situations should be corrected immediately by a tire dealer. Front-wheel-drive vehicles and those with independent rear suspension require alignment of all four wheels.
Have your alignment checked periodically as specified by the vehicle owner’s manual or whenever you have an indication of trouble such as pulling or vibration in the steering wheel. It is also important to note that front-wheel-drive vehicles and those with independent rear suspensions require special attention, and alignment should be checked periodically.
A bad jolt - such as hitting a pothole - can throw your vehicle out of alignment. Such an impact can also bend the rim, causing a loss of air pressure and damage to your tires with little or no visible evidence present. If this happens, see your Toyo Tires dealer for a tire inspection.
Uneven / Excessive Wear
At least once a month, inspect your tires closely for signs of tire damage such as cuts or punctures as well as uneven or excessive wear. Uneven wear patterns may be caused by improper inflation pressures, misalignment, improper balance, or suspension neglect. If not corrected, further tire damage will occur. If you discover uneven wear, bring your car to your nearest Toyo Tires dealer. In many instances, the dealer can correct the problem so you can continue to use your tire.
When the tread is worn down to one-sixteenth of an inch, the tire is worn out and it is time to replace it. Built-in tread wear indicators, or “wear bars,” which look like narrow strips of smooth rubber across the tread, will appear on the tire when that point of wear is reached.
Other Things to Look For:
- Look for any stones, bits of glass, metal, or other foreign objects in the tread or sidewall. These may work deeper into the tire and cause air loss.
- If any tire continually needs more air, have your Toyo Tires dealer check to find out why it is leaking. Damage to the tire, wheel, or valve may be the problem.
- If you have any further questions please visit a Toyo Tires dealer.
Tire Damage-Repair Or Replace?
Which types of tire damage are serviceable? The answer to that question depends upon the injury itself. Every injury, including punctures, scrapes, bulges, separations, or cuts should be evaluated by your Toyo Tires dealer. Often, small punctures isolated to the tread of the tire can be repaired by a professional. It is important that the tire is repaired using the Rubber Manufacturer Association’s guidelines for a permanent repair.
Ignoring a damaged tire and continuing to drive on it can turn an inexpensive fix into an expensive problem. Damaged tires lose air, causing their operating temperature to rise, which can cause some components to separate, or damage the tire body in ways that ruin it. You can never play it too safe; if your tire shows visible damage or you suspect hidden damage due to small punctures or impact, consult your Toyo Tires dealer.
Is It Time To Repair Or Replace?
Tires should be replaced when the tread is worn down to 2/32nds, or one-sixteenth of an inch. Checking the tread depth of your tires costs just a penny. There is the old trick where you can actually take a penny and insert it into the remaining tread depth. With Lincoln’s head down, if you can see the top of his head, your tires are below the wear line and should be replaced.
Built-in tread wear indicators, or “wear bars,” which look like narrow strips of smooth rubber across the tread, will also appear on the tire when that point of wear is reached. Tires may need to be replaced sooner, if there is excessive uneven wear, meaning one area of the tread is significantly more worn down than other areas. This uneven wear can cause further damage. If you have questions or are uncertain about the tread depth remaining on your tires, take your vehicle to a tire dealer for inspection.
We are thankful for the team at Toyo for putting together such a user-friendly system which allows everyone to better care for our tires. For more information about Toyo Tires and to get fitted with your next set, be sure and check out their website. What are your normal tire maintenance practices? Let us know in the comments below.