Tire Maintenance For Optimal Tire Life

Autos & TrucksMaintenance

  • Author Robert Willumsen
  • Published March 17, 2016
  • Word count 1,272

The average advertised price to replace 4 tires is $400 to $600 for the top tire size sold. Even $1000 is not out of the question. Insuring that you get the most mileage out of your tires is extremely important. Tires are the link between the vehicle and the road, and are constantly subjected to the forces of acceleration, stopping and turning for a vehicle that weighs an average of over 4000 lbs.! Of course you’re going to see tire wear, but the longer you can make your tires last, the less money you will spend maintaining this part of your automobile. Keeping your tires in good shape requires more than just keeping an eye on tire wear and air pressure. It also means practicing safe driving habits, avoiding bad habits, and maintaining all the components of the steering and suspension systems

Proper Tire Maintenance:

Tire Pressure: The tires are your main connection to the road, so be sure they are inflated properly. Under-inflated tires provide less traction, can reduce fuel mileage and can wear out prematurely, so check your pressure at least once a month to ensure you are driving on properly inflated tires. As the temperatures drops, so does the pressure in your tires. The proper tire pressure for your car is not necessary the pressure stamped on the tire. Your vehicle should have a sticker located on the driver's side door jamb or on the rear edge of the driver's door that lists the manufacturers recommended tire pressure. Check your tire pressure at least once a month and before every long trip.

Rotation: Tires tend to wear unevenly. The front tires tend to wear on the outside edges because the tire leans over when you turn a corner. With the majority of cars having the engine in front, the front tires also typically bear more weight than the rear tires. Front Wheel drive vehicles have the as well as the engine in front, adding to the weight differential. Rotating tires keeps them from wearing unevenly which extends the life of your tires, saving you time and money in the long run. A side benefit is that regular rotation will make your ride smoother and handling safer. During rotation each tire and wheel is removed from your vehicle, and moved to a different position. Your owner's manual will tell you how often to rotate your tires, but as a rule of thumb, it should be done every 5,000 to 8,000 miles.

Balancing: Tires and wheels are not perfectly balanced when they are manufactured. When your tires were fitted to the wheels originally, they were measured on a balancing machine. Correction weights are applied to counteract the combined effect of the tire and wheel unbalance, your tires were balanced. The minute you pull away from the tire shop on your new tires, they begin getting out of balance again. Every bump and corner affects balance; so does tire wear, over time, your tires get out of balance again. That's why it's important to have tires balanced regularly. There are some warning signs that your tires have become out of balance. You begin to see uneven wear or a vibration over 40 mph especially if the front tires are out of balance. How often should you have you tires balanced? With typical use every 4,000 to 6,000 miles or every time you have your tires rotated.

Safe Driving Habits Help Maintain Your Tires:

Watch your Speed: High speeds will generate excessive heat, which increases the rate of tire wear.

Avoid High Speed Turns and Curves: Taking turns and curves at high speeds will ultimately wear down your tire’s tread unevenly. Hard cornering transfers the weight of the car to the outside wheels, increasing the load on the shoulders, which can significantly increase wear.

Avoid Fast Starts and Panic Stops: Continual acceleration and fierce braking wear away patches from the tire tread, leading to bald spots that can expose a hole in the casing. With tread wearing away from this style of driving, handling is compromised and stopping distance is lengthened. Go easy on the gas and brake, and you'll have more tread on your tire and less on the pavement, lengthening the time between tire replacements.

Be Aware Of Rough Road Surfaces: Everything you hit in the road, from potholes to debris, has a direct impact on your tire life. Travel on rock and gravel roads is rough on rubber. It tends to take little chunks out of the tire as the sharp pieces of the road act somewhat like sandpaper on your tires.

Avoid Carrying Extra Weight: Overloading your vehicle stresses your tires and can lead to damage. Don’t carry unnecessary stuff in your trunk.

Curbs: Hitting a curb is never a good thing. Running over curbs, or striking one with the sidewall of your tire, can cause a blowout.

Suspension/Steering System Maintenance:

Maintenance of the tires themselves and good driving habits are a good start to optimum tire life, maintaining the suspension and steering system completes the package. The tires are your vehicle’s link to the road and your suspension and steering system is your link to the tires.

Getting all the mileage you can from your tires can be accomplished by getting routine Alignment checks before any irregularities in tread wear show up. Many auto repair shops will do an alignment check for free. Or you can wait until you see problems like

  1. Wear on one edge but not the other

  2. Uneven wear (alternating high and low) on the

outer edge, known as "feathering"

  1. Indentation on the tire surface, known as


Alignment is a complex topic covering a number of parts; basically your tires ’t pointing in the right direction and affecting your safety and the durability of your tires and all the parts controlling them. Misalignment can be caused by imperfections in the roadway (potholes, road crown, rocks) and as suspension parts get worn they tend to bend and flex creating stress & strain forcing the car to pull out of alignment. An alignment is a process of loosening bolts adjusting the position on the component and tightening it back up until the wheels are facing the right direction.

Alignment checks include a complete inspection of all the components of the steering and suspension systems. Worn parts can be replaced before a problem develops.

Regular alignments also satisfy your tire warranty requirements. If your tires carry a warranty or "lifetime certificate," check the fine print. It's likely that it includes the requirement of getting periodic alignments to keep tires from wearing incorrectly. Don't let your warranty be voided by a lack of proper maintenance.

We recommend an Alignment Check every 6000 miles. A lot happens over the course of 6000 miles, pot holes, rough stretches of road or worse a curb jumps out in front of you. If your tires are bowed out of alignment by just .017 in., it's the equivalent of dragging your tire sideways for 5 miles for every 1,000 you drive. Depending on how severe the alignment is, you can take an 80,000 mile tire and wear it out in 40,000 miles. Obviously if you have an alignment that is severely out, you can wear the tires out in a couple thousand miles.

American Auto Air in Reno uses the latest digital technology to check the alignment on your vehicle and certified technicians to inspect your steering and suspension system components.

Proper Maintenance of your tire and suspension system will provide you optimum tire life, better handling, and a safer ride. And in case you don’t maintain your tires American Auto Air & Repair also has a wide selection on tires available to fit your vehicle.

Multidimensional business professional Robert Willumsen has over 30 years business experience. As the Business Operations Manager for American Auto Air he has researched and written a number of articles helping consumer reduce the cost of driving their cars. americanautoair.com americanautoairspecials.com

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