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Get Your Tires Ready for Spring with These Maintenance Tips

Are you taking a road trip for Spring Break? Is your car safe to drive in the wet, slippery conditions that come with springtime?

Get your tires ready for vacation or just everyday commuting with these instructions on important tire maintenance.

Check the Air Pressure

You should be checking your air pressure frequently throughout the year in order to maintain proper inflation levels. Driving on overinflated or underinflated tires, especially on wet roads, is dangerous as your car won’t have proper handling, will require longer braking distances, will have shorter tire life, and will decrease fuel economy.

When your tires are cold or haven’t been driven on for three hours, use a pressure gauge to insure your tires are within the suggested limits of the guide on your door jamb or in your vehicle’s owner’s manual. The number listed on your sidewalls is the maximum psi, not the ideal psi. And don’t rely solely on your Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) if you have one.

Inspect for Wear and Tear

During and after winter, roads are scattered with potholes. Hitting one even slightly can throw off your car’s alignment and cause your tires to wear unevenly, as can not rotating your tires frequently enough. Tire rotation should occur every 5,000-8,000 miles according to your owner’s manual. Some vehicles, including ones with All-Wheel Drive, require it more often.

Some other things to inspect your tires for include:

  • One-sided wear

  • Center wear

  • Feathering or toe wear (the tread ribs are worn lower or smoother on one side and higher or sharper on the other side)

  • Cupping or scalloping (divots or scoops carved out of your tire tread). This can be serious so visit your mechanic if you see this on your tires.

  • Patchy wear

When you regularly inspect your tires, you’ll be able to assess and fix any problems that can cause further damage and unsafe handling down the road.

Examine the Depth of Your Tread

For a well-performing tire it is essential to have proper tread depth, which is 32nds of an inch. You can use a tread depth gauge or even just a penny to examine the depth of your tire tread. If you stick a penny upside down in the tread, is part of President Lincoln’s head covered? If so, your tire tread is fine. If you can see all of his head then it’s time to purchase new tires.

Tips for Driving in Wet Conditions

Springtime brings wet weather and slippery driving surfaces. Follow these tips for driving in wet conditions and you can more easily prevent a crash.

  • Switch your tires from all-season to summer tires for better grip on wet roads.

  • Drive with two hands.

  • Increase your distance from other cars.

  • When turning, slow down by gradually braking before you turn the wheel, maintain a consistent speed through the turn, and don’t make sudden steering movements.

  • If you hydroplane, don’t accelerate or brake. Keep your foot lightly on the gas pedal and steer straight until you gain traction.

For more tips on maintaining your automobile or purchasing car insurance, visit Insurance Center Associates in San Pedro, California