It’s National Tire Safety Week: Check Your Tires!
Whether you own a personal car or manage a fleet of vehicles, tire safety should be a priority to you. National Tire Safety Week this year is June 2 to June 8, 2013. Hopefully you are already a tire pro and take the appropriate measures to ensure that your tires are always in good shape. Keeping your tires healthy is an ongoing process, so make it a habit to check your tires once a month to keep everything running smoothly. Fleet managers can use Fleetmatics’ maintenance alerts to set a reminder to check vehicles’ tires monthly, based on when the tires were last checked. Fleet maintenance alerts are helpful because they can be set based on individual vehicles, not the entire fleet. They help to maintain a historical record of all servicing.
The Rubber Manufacturer’s Association suggests that you use the phrase “Be smart, play your PART” to remember the four areas to focus on when checking your tires. PART stands for pressure, alignment, rotation, and tread.
Having a tire with too high or too low air pressure is a danger to your vehicle. It can result in irregular wear and unnecessary tire stress. If you have too much air in your tires, less of your tire touches the ground when you are driving. Your vehicle will bounce around on the road and this lessons traction and increases stopping distances. If your tire is under-inflated, more of the tire touches the ground while driving. Under inflation can lead to loss of control of your vehicle and can cause a nasty accident. Check your vehicle’s manual to see what the recommended tire pressure is for your tires.
If you have ever accidentally hit a curb or driven over a large pothole, your vehicle is at risk to have a misaligned tire. You can tell if your vehicle has alignment issues if you notice a pull to one side while driving. Another notable sign is shaking. A tire dealer or mechanic can help reset your tires if they are out of alignment.
Rotating your tires every 5,000 miles can help your vehicle achieve a more level wear. If your tires are exhibiting signs of uneven wear, tire rotation can help. Maintenance alerts can be set to remind you every 5,000 miles so that your vehicles are never overdue for a rotation.
This is a visual test you should perform to make sure your tires have the ability to grip the roads in all conditions. They should be replaced when they are worn down to 2/32 of an inch. The RMA recommends performing the penny test: place a penny into the tire groove. If part of Lincoln’s head is covered by the tread, you are driving with enough tread. But if his head is fully visible, you need a new tire.
Be aware of your tires’ health and check up on them regularly. If you ever have concerns about your tires, consult a professional immediately. Driving on unhealthy tires is unsafe and can mean costly damages for you or your company if an accident occurs.
Additional sources: Car Talk