Tire Safety

National Tire Safety Week: 4 Tips to Keep Your Treads on Track

Posted by Stacey Papp

Remember the Rotor – that most debilitating of carnival rides? You know, the giant cylinder that spins like a mother and pins riders to the sides with the sheer power of physics — no seatbelts required. It’s fun at first (at least for some people), but by the end of the ride, almost everyone is worn out and ready for the incessant whirling to be over. It takes a toll — even though it lasts just a few brief moments.

Now think of your fleet’s tires. They basically spin like the Rotor, all day, every day, relentlessly wearing against the road through heat, ice, rain and snow. That’s why you need to check them regularly — and there’s no better time to review proper maintenance than during National Tire Safety Week, which runs May 29th through June 4th. The Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) recommends these four steps so that your tires continue to serve you well:

1. Check the pressure. This is perhaps the simplest task you can perform to maintain tire safety. Every gas station from Bangor to Baja has a pressure gauge, not to mention that drivers can keep one the size of a pencil in their glove compartments. Underinflated tires can result in everything from uneven wear and tear that shortens tire life to, in extreme cases, loss of vehicle control. The RMA recommends checking pressure once a month, but depending on how much time your drivers spend behind the wheel, it might be necessary to do it more often. Track your drivers’ mileage for a better estimate of when it’s time to pull out the gauge.

2. Examine alignment. Pothole season may be over, but damage to vehicles might still persist. All those bumps and divots in the road can knock suspension out of whack, forcing tires to turn on an angle and potentially pulling the vehicle in one direction or another. That shrinks tire lifespan — and means less money in your pocket. A good rule of thumb is to check alignment every other time your vehicles go in for an oil change.

3. Rotate regularly. Just like proper inflation, regularly rotating your tires will help tires to have consistent wear and tear. The RMA recommends it every 5,000 miles. Once again, that’s where mileage tracking software comes in handy. Instead of manually checking your fleet’s speedometers, you can set up software to send alerts whenever it’s time to service vehicles. 

4. Monitor tread. A solid tire tread is the lifeline between vehicles and the road, keeping them steady in inclement weather and maintaining a solid grip over challenging terrain. But once tread wears down, things get a little, well, slippery. Be on the lookout for smooth areas or patchy deterioration, both of which signal it’s time to buy new tires. You’ve probably heard of the penny test — and with good reason. It’s a goofproof way to analyze tire tread. Simply put a penny, with Lincoln’s head facing down, into the tire tread grooves. If you can see the top of his head, it’s time to get new tires. And remember: test multiple places, in case your tires are wearing irregularly.

As carnival season heats up, the Rotor will be spinning away in parking lots and fairgrounds across the country, but even as it whirls in a nonstop circle, it stays in one place. Keep your vehicles on the right course by getting them checked during National Tire Safety Week.

After you’re done checking your tires, stop by our blog to read about the importance of regular vehicle maintenance.  

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