Summer is a time for vacations and road trips, but before you hit the open road, make sure your car is ready for the journey. One of the most important things to check is your tire pressure.
Check your tire pressure before a long trip, because tires lose air over time. You need to maintain proper tire pressure year-round for safety and fuel efficiency.
It’s not just about the distance you will be traveling, poor tire pressure can lead to accidents and result in poor fuel efficiency. Additionally, under-inflated tires can overheat and cause a blowout. This is especially dangerous at high speeds.
How to check your tire pressure
The best way to check your tire pressure is with a digital tire pressure gauge. You can find these at most auto parts stores. They are relatively inexpensive and easy to use.
To check your tire pressure:
Remove the cap from the tire valve.
Press the gauge firmly onto the valve.
Read the pressure on the gauge.
If the pressure is low, use a air pump to add air to the tire until it reaches the recommend pressure according to the tires specifications.
Replace the cap on the valve
Driving with a flat tire is dangerous for a number of reasons.
When you drive on a flat tire, the car will pull to one side. This can make it difficult to control the car, and can lead to accidents. In addition, if you have a blowout while driving, you may lose control of the car and crash.
Check your spare tire before you go on a trip. If you have a flat tire and need to use your spare, you don't want to find out that it is also flat. You may think that small spare tire is just for getting you to the nearest service station, but it can actually be used for a long distance if you drive slowly.
If you have a flat tire, replace it as soon as possible. Driving on a flat tire can damage the wheel and the tire. What was originally just a flat tire could cause you to need a a new rim.
How to change a tire?
Most people don't know how to change a tire, which is an essential skill for every driver. If you're lucky enough never to have a flat tire on the road, it's still wise to learn this simple process. It will take just minutes and could help save your life someday. But if you do get that dreaded call from your someone you know, here's what you need to do.
First, find a safe place to pull over and turn on your hazard lights. If you're on the shoulder of a busy highway, it's best to move your car as far off the road as possible. Once you're safely parked, engage your parking brake.
Next, locate your jack and spare tire. Your car's owner's manual will show you where these are located. Before you do anything else, loosen the lug nuts on your flat tire using the wrench. You don't need to remove them completely, just loosen them enough so they'll be easy to remove when the time comes.
Now it's time to jack up your car. Place the jack under the frame of your car (consult your owner's manual for the best location), and turn the crank to lift the tire off the ground. Once the tire is high enough, remove the lug nuts and pull the tire off.
Now it's time to put on the spare. Put the tire on the wheel and hand-tighten the lug nuts as much as possible. Lower the car to the ground and finish tightening the lug nuts with the wrench.
Once the tire is changed, be sure to drive slowly and carefully to your destination. You don't want to damage your spare tire by driving too fast.
When should I get new tires?
Your tires are a major safety consideration for your vehicle. They help you steer and stop, keep the car on the road in wet weather, and provide a comfortable ride. Tires don't last forever, though. The rubber gets hard and brittle with age and the tread wears down, making it more difficult to stop and less effective in wet weather.
How often you need new tires depends on several factors, including: How you drive - Hard acceleration, braking, and cornering can all shorten the life of your tires
The roads you drive on - Paved roads are easier on tires than gravel or dirt roads
The climate you live in - Extreme heat or cold can also shorten tire life
How well you maintain your tires - Regularly checking and inflating your tires to the proper pressure can help extend their life
Did you know that underinflated tires can decrease your gas mileage? According to this study by the Office of ENERGY EFFICIENCY & RENEWABLE ENERGY
"Keeping automobile tires inflated to their recommended pressure saves fuel, according to an Oak Ridge National Laboratory study. A 2009 Toyota Corolla was tested with all four tires at the recommended pressure (black line), then at 75% of the recommended pressure (green line), and again at 50% of the recommended pressure (blue line). With all four tires at 75% of the recommended pressure, a vehicle’s fuel economy is about 2-3% lower. Vehicles with tires inflated at 50% of the recommended pressure used 5–10% more fuel. It should be noted that underinflated tires not only waste fuel but also pose serious safety risks."
When should I rotate my tires?
Your car's tires wear down unevenly, so it's important to rotate them every few thousand miles. Tires should be rotated every 6,000 to 8,000 miles. However, this varies depending on the type of driving you do and the type of tire you have. Consult your owner's manual or a automotive technician for more specific
As you can see, there are many reasons you should maintain the proper tire pressure, know how to change a flat tire and when getting new tires is necessary. Tire maintenance should be an essential part of your vehicle ownership routine so that you don't find yourself stranded on the side of the road without a spare or any idea what to do next!