According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are more than 11,000 tire-related automobile crashes on our county’s network of roads and highways every year. You might be surprised at how little time it takes to keep up with good tire safety practices.
Do a Regular “Walk-Around”
There can be visible signs of problems with your tires long before the pressure gets out of whack or the treads wear down. While you’re filling your car with gas, get in the habit of walking around your vehicle and looking for signs of damage or nails embedded. Check the sidewalls for any bulges, missing rubbers, or deep scrapes. If you can see a lump or bulge, it often means your tire has a broken cord. If there’s an abrasion or divot out of the sidewall, you are well on your way to what could be a dangerous tire failure.
Monitor Tire Pressure Closely
Low tire pressure is the most significant cause of tire-related accidents. Over-inflated tires can cause premature wear on your tire treads or bulging along the tire walls—which can also lead to tire failure. Newer vehicles have Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS) that light up on your dashboard if your tire pressure is low, but they do not detect over-inflated tires. That’s why many auto safety experts suggest relying on the old school way of keeping tabs on tire pressure. Keep a stick-style pressure gauge in your car so you can monitor your tire pressure manually at least once a month.
So what’s the right tire pressure for your vehicle? It depends. The recommended pressure for your tires can be found either inside the driver’s side door or in your Owner’s Manual. Keeping your tires inflated to the recommended pressure is best for safety and fuel consumption.
Check for Worn Treads
All tires have a bar in the groove that is molded to a height of 2/32nd of an inch. treads worn to less than that can contribute to tire failure. But who knows what 2/32nd of an inch looks like? Try sliding a penny into your tire treads with the Abraham Lincoln side facing you. If you can see the entire top of Lincoln’s head, you need to replace your tires.
Watch for Uneven Wear
Uneven wear to your tires sometimes means your vehicle has a mechanical issue, like misalignment or worn suspension. Have your tires rotated every 3,000 to 4,000 miles to prevent uneven wear on tires.
How Old are Your Tires?
Aging tires can potentially cause a tire blowout, resulting in the driver’s loss of control, serious injury, or even fatalities. There is no specific age at which tire problems happen. However, a joint report from Ford, GM, Chrysler, and others—as reported last year by ABC News—urged “all motorists to replace tires that are six years of age or older because of the possibility the rubber in them could degrade and create a dangerous situation in which the tire loses its tread.”
After you replace your tires, continuing to head off dangerous tire failure means keeping up to date with the manufacturer. Register your tires so you can be contacted if there’s a recall on them.
Keep all these safety and maintenance tips in mind to avoid dangerous tire failure—not only will you have a safer experience, you’re also likely to save on fuel consumption.
If you have been in an accident because of tire failure, contact The Law Offices of Arthur Crum for a free, no-obligation consultation.