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Tire Tread & Pressure: How They Could Save Your Life

While most of us think about seat belts, airbags and antilock breaks as the most significant safety features on automobiles, we might forget about another critical factor: tires. In fact, well-maintained and proper tires could save your life in an accident. They will help a car's steering, braking, traction and weight-distribution if they are correctly maintained and replaced. All drivers need to know how to keep them correctly inflated, and monitor the traction. The few hundred dollars it could cost to replace your car's tires are nothing compared to the costs of damage, injury or even more significant tragedy. To maximize the safety of your vehicle and feel confident that you'll be safe on the road, make the effort to follow these tips for effective maintenance.

How to Maintain Your Traction

You must inspect your tread; otherwise you run the risk of hydroplaning or skidding on the roadways. They need this to maintain traction and control. Too often drivers think about tire pressure, and ignore that they are gradually losing traction. You should regularly and consistently measure the tread as part of your regular maintenance checks. Manufacturers say that you must replace them once the tread is worn to 2/32 of an inch. The best way to check this is by inserting a penny upside down into the tread. If you can see all of President Lincoln's head, you need new ones. If his head is covered, you're OK. Some varieties include a built-in feature called "wear bars," in which narrow rubber strips appear when the tread has worn down to 1/16 of an inch. If you see "wear bars," it is an indication that you need immediate replacement. Beware of offers to "retread" them. These methods are not guaranteed to ensure the safety and integrity ofthem. If you live in a particularly warm climate, remember that heat can be extremely tough on rubber. This treatement is simply a bandage on a serious wound. For your safety, invest in a brand new, quality set. According to the Rubber Manufacturers Association, incorrect pressure is the "number one enemy" to watch out for. If you do not have properly inflated tires, they could fail.

  • Your car's manufacturer will let you know the ideal amount of air required. Look on the inside edge of your driver's vehicle door to find out more.
  • Proper inflation can also make your car run more efficiently - you'll save on gas!
  • Keep a gauge in your car's glove box, and check the pressure at least once a month. It's best to check when they are cool.
  • When you get gas, take a moment to inspect them for intrusions such as nails or other objects. If something gets embedded in them, it could cause a dangerous leak. Also look at the sidewalls for cuts or tears.
  • Remember that air pressure goes up in hot weather and down in cold weather, generally 1-2 pounds per 10 degrees.
  • Many auto service stations, such as your local dealership or an oil-changing station, can also inspect them for you.

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