We often ignore our tires unless they're flat. But they play a vital role in the overall condition of your car. Maintain them properly, and you'll save money on repairs and on fuel costs.
Keeping your tires properly inflated ensures that they wear longer and can prevent accidents. Your car likely has a card or sticker attached to the door edge or the inside of the glove box door. The right amount of air your tires need is specified here. In case your car doesn't have this sticker, you can check your owner's manual.
Serious accidents can happen if your tires are under-inflated or overloaded. One of my tires blew-out on me and caused an accident. Luckily I was on a little traveled country road and was going slowly. I hate to think of what might have happened if I had been in major traffic.
Buy your own quality tire gauge. You can't tell if tires are inflated properly just by looking. And the air meters at your service station may not be correct!
Ask your auto supply dealer for a tire gauge calibrated up to 80 PSI. They'll know what you mean, even if you don't.
Take a moment at the beginning of each month to check your tire pressure (don't forget the spare! Uhm, you do have a spare tire, don't you??) Check them before you get in the car to drive. Write down the actual under-inflation amount for each tire. Take this info with you to the service station.
Now measure the inflation again and record these numbers. (Don't worry, this only takes a couple minutes.)
Now inflate the tires to a level that equals the warm pressure (that you just took) plus the first under-inflation amount. (called the "cold" inflation pressure)
If the above instructions sound intimidating or confusing, take your car to a shop and give them the “cold” pressure numbers. They’ll put the correct amount of air in your tires for a minimum fee – sometimes they’ll not charge you at all.
The leading cause of tire failure is under-inflation. So make a habit to check them once a month.
Overloading your vehicle can lead to tire failure, too. Just because you have a pick-up truck doesn’t mean it can carry an infinite load.
Schedule a tire check into your calendar each month and you’ll save money, save fuel, and perhaps, even save your family from a car accident.