With gas prices, this summer, hovering around the $4/gallon mark, many people may be reconsidering taking that summer road trip. However, the Tire Industry Association (TIA), one of the leading global authorities on tires, offers six tips drivers can use to stay safe, reduce fuel consumption and thus make that NH romantic getaway a reality.
1. Perform a visual inspection and check tire pressure. According to TIA Senior Vice President of Training Kevin Rohlwing, improperly inflated tires are one of the biggest contributors to a car’s fuel inefficiency. Drivers should check the owner’s manual or the placard on the inside of the driver-side door to determine the correct inflation, and always check the pressure first thing in the morning, when tires are “cold.” Additionally, look for any cracking and/or irregular wear.
2. Be sure not to overload your tires. Many summertime activities involve a lot of luggage and equipment. And, when you factor in the weight of the passengers, it can be too much for your tires to safely handle. Overloaded tires will also wear out faster, and will not be as fuel-efficient, thus potentially costing you hundreds of dollars on replacement tires. Make sure to check the owner’s manual to ensure the maximum allowable limit is not being exceeded.
3. Use the “penny test” to check for minimum tread depth. The old test still works – place a penny in a major tread groove of a tire with Lincoln’s head facing down. If the top of Lincoln’s head is visible at any point in any major tread groove, it’s a good sign that the tire needs to be replaced.
4. Rotate tires every 5,000 – 7,000 miles. Rotating tires on this regular basis is one of the best ways to get the maximum life out of your tires.
5. If your tire is punctured, make sure the person who is repairing it performs the repairs off the wheel. The only proper way to repair tire damage is to remove the tire from the wheel. On-the-wheel repairs are dangerous, because there may be more damage to the tire than what is visible when it is on the wheel.
6. Inspect your spare tire. Many people forget to regularly check the condition of their spare tire (including the inflation pressure) until one of their main tires is not working, and then, it’s too late. This is a quick and easy maintenance tip that will pay dividends when you need it most.