For those of you that guessed tires, bravo! With all the time your loved ones spend in a car, you need those tires to be in tip-top shape. And proper tire care is your ticket to ride - safely. In these 3 easy steps, The Expert tells you how to keep your tire care simple and effective.
Step 1 - Keep Your Tires Balanced
Balancing your tires is crucial to making sure they spin correctly. (We all know that it's no fun to ride around on shaky wheels!) Have your mechanic balance the tires by attaching small weights to the wheel rim. These weights will equalize any distortion in the construction of your tires or their rims. If you notice a vibration in your tires or steering wheel, bring your car to your favorite mechanic (tire balance, brake rotor issues, front suspension, steering could be the cause).
Step 2 - Make Sure Your Wheels Are Properly Aligned
Alignment is the key word in making sure everything in you car is in check and running smoothly. It keeps your tires running together and in sync with your vehicle. There are 2 kinds of alignment: regular and 4-wheel. If your vehicle has independent suspension, you need to have all 4 wheels aligned. It is usually a good idea to do this with front-wheel drive vehicles. Alignment is crucial to your car's tire life and relatively painless to keep working correctly. Unless you're driving your car through the Appalachian Mountains (or seriously bumpy back roads), you should only need to have your tires aligned twice a year. Whenever the tread is wearing unevenly or you're driving unevenly - no matter how straight you are going - it may be a sign to have the alignment checked out.
Step 3 - Take the Time to Rotate Those Tires
This step needs to be done a little more frequently than the other 2 to keep your tires in their best shape for as long as possible. The good news is that it is as simple as having your mechanic switch your tires' positions. Most tire companies will tell you to rotate all 4 tires approximately every 6000 miles. For the less fastidious tire owner, the Expert recommends that you do so at least every 10,000 miles, especially for front-wheel drive vehicles. Also, keep in mind that there are different types of tire rotation possible. Your owner's manual should recommend the preferred method of rotation and proper rotation schedule for your vehicle, which you can then share with your mechanic.
Step 4 ├É Check Tread Depth
Examine the wear indicators that are molded onto the tread area of your tires. When the tire wears to the point where the wear indicators are level with the tread surface, it's time to replace your tires. Worn tires impact cornering, handling and stopping power particularly in rain and snow conditions.