| Now is the time for road trips. But before heading out of town, it's important to prepare your vehicle. Overlooking something as simple as a vehicle's tire pressure can cause problems. |
"Many people don't realize that tire pressure affects steering and braking control," said Roger Fournier, regional vice president for tires.com, part of America's largest independent tire and wheel retailer. "A tire's worst enemy is heat, and when warm weather sets in and seasonal driving increases, motorists need to ensure they are properly maintaining their tires to avoid blowouts."
Under-inflation is the leading cause of tire failure, according to the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA). Each year, nearly 700 fatalities and over 30,000 injuries result from car accidents due to under-inflated tires.
Drivers also tend to overload their vehicles on road trips. Excess weight can take an unnecessary toll on fuel economy and tire wear. And when a vehicle is riding on under-inflated tires, along with heavier passenger and cargo loads, the chance of a road accident increases.
Here are five tips to keep your tires in shape for road trips:
1. Get Pressure Right.
The specific inflation pressure number can be found on the vehicle placard located on the driver's side doorpost or glove box door, fuel door or in the owner's manual. For accurate pressure, check tires when cool. Don't forget the spare. Custom tires and wheels may change standard air pressure requirements, so if you customize, have a pro check them out before you start your long drive.
2. Don't Overload Vehicle.
Overloading decreases fuel economy due to increased wind drag and cargo weight. Handing, control and braking are also lessened.
3. Rotate Before You Go.
Regular rotation helps achieve uniform tire wear and improve road performance. Tires rotated every 6,000 to 8,000 miles last longer. It makes sense to get a tire inspection when you rotate. Retail stores for tires.com provide free tire inspections.
4. Straighten Up.
Proper tire alignment provides safe, predictable vehicle control as well as a ride that is smooth, comfortable and free of pulling or vibration. Proper alignment helps tires wear evenly and last longer.
5. Bald Isn't Beautiful.
Without tread, tires cannot grip the road. Make sure tires do not have uneven wear, high or low areas or unusually smooth areas that can increase the risk of road accidents.