Long nights, three-day weekends, and no school make summer the perfect season for a driving vacation. Before heading out on a summer trip, give your car tires a maintenance check. With a few simple steps, you can make sure the tires are safe, so you get the most out of every tank of gas and lower the risk of a flat tire. K&S Car Wash has four steps to take care of car tires in summer.
Check Tire Pressure
Car tires must be inflated to the proper pressure, which is indicated in PSI or pounds per square inch. When tires are properly inflated, drivers enjoy better gas mileage and reduced risk of developing a flat. When tires are chronically under inflated, they will wear down faster, which means you need to buy tires more often.
It’s important to check tire pressure when tires are cold, since warm tires will skew the reading. Tire pressure recommendations vary by vehicle make and model, and may vary by front and back tire locations. When you know your recommended tire pressure, which is listed in the operator’s manual and on auto tires, you can check tire pressure using an air pressure gauge.
If the tire has too much pressure, there’s an increased risk of blowout. In this case, remove the tire valve and allow excess air to escape. If the tire doesn’t have enough pressure, use an air pump to increase the tire pressure to the recommended PSI.
Check the tire pressure periodically and adjust as necessary. Fluctuations in temperature, common in summer months, can cause tires to lose pressure.
Check Wear and Tear
As tire treads wear down, they are less able to grip the road. It’s easy to check wear and tear using a penny.
To conduct the penny test, hold the penny with Lincoln’s head facing you. Slip the penny in between tire treads and rotate it, so Lincoln’s head faces down. If the top of his head sinks beneath the treads, your tires are good. If the entire head remains above the treads, the tires are worn to the point of risk. Replace worn tires immediately.
Tires don’t wear down evenly across all four wheels. By rotating car tires, you can encourage even wear and prolong the lifespan of each tire. The car owner’s manual provides a handy rotation order for tires.
To rotate car tires, you’ll need to loosen the tire lug nuts, then use the car jack to raise the car off the ground. When the car is in the air, remove the lug nuts and pull off the tire. Carry the tire to its new location, then repeat the process for the next tire. To install the tires in their new locations, push the tire onto the wheel, then reattach your tire lug nuts to secure it. Lower the auto to the ground. When the car is back on the ground, secure your lug nuts with the tire iron.
Prepare for a Flat
K&S Car Wash wants you to be prepared so before the summer travel season, check your trunk for a spare tire, tire iron, and jack. If the spare has low tire pressure, inflate it. With these in the car, you can help yourself in an emergency rather than wait on a tow truck for roadside assistance.
If you notice anything unusual when checking your tires, have the issue looked at by a mechanic before your trip. The small amount of time you spend checking your tires health and performing preventative maintenance more than pays you back though gas savings, better vehicle safety, and longer lasting tires.