Even though what’s above the tires is the rest of your vehicle, the tires are the only thing that touches the road. Proper care of your four wheels is crucial to keeping the passengers safe. Signature Total Car Care services the whole vehicle, but the care of your tires should be a top priority. Here are 4 important safety tips for vehicle tire care before rolling out.
1. Maintaining Correct Tire Pressure
Make it a habit of checking tire pressure regularly (every 2-4 weeks), as proper tire inflation can make driving a lot safer and make your tires last longer.
Check your tire pressure regularly.
Even in ideal conditions, tires lose pressure at a rate of about 0.69 bar or 1 pound per square inch (psi) per month. That rate increases as temperatures rise. Check tire pressure at least once every month and have a good look at the treads while you’re at it. You’ll find the recommended pressure in your vehicle owner’s manual or on the sidewall of your tire.
How to check your pressure
Buy a pressure gauge or use one at your local garage. Check first thing in the morning or whenever your tires are cool. They heat up as you drive, which can affect your reading.
Unscrew the valve on the tire and place the gauge over the valve. A brief hissing sound is normal.
Read the pressure on the gauge and compare it with your tire’s recommended bar or psi.
Re-check your pressure with the gauge and check against the manufacturer’s specifications.
Replace the valve caps on each tire.
Be sure to check each tire. If the pressure drop is excessive, it’s time to ask your Signature Total Car Care for help. You might have a slow leak caused by ill-fitting rims or a faulty valve.
2. Rotating Your Tires
Ensure that your tires wear evenly by rotating them every 10,000 to 12,000km or every six months.
Rotating your tires helps achieve uniform wear across the full set. Even wear can help extend the life of your tires and obtain balanced handling and traction. Regular tire rotation can help keep your vehicle handling smoothly. We recommend rotating them at every second oil change.
Why should you rotate your tires?
The tires at the front of your vehicle commonly wear out faster than those at the rear. If you change their positions frequently, it helps them wear more evenly and reach maximum tread life. It is worth it to remember that tire rotation can’t correct wear problems due to incorrect inflation pressures.
How often do they need rotation?
Every second oil change (roughly every 10,000 to 12,000 km), it’s a good idea to rotate your tires. If you regularly drive at high speeds, carry heavy loads, or drive long distances, the extra strain might mean slightly more frequent rotations. If you notice any uneven wear, you should rotate them as soon as possible. If they emit a humming sound when you’re driving on a smooth road, it might be time to investigate rotation.
Can I do a tire rotation myself?
Because it’s essential to get your tires fitted just right, we recommend you go to Signature Total Car Care to have a professional do it. But it’s easy enough to do yourself, and it’s a good idea to understand how it works, even if you leave it to a pro. You don’t need any specialist tools, just some space and a few hours.
Always check your vehicle owner’s manual for any recommendations by your vehicle manufacturer.
We suggest that your tire rotation follow the patterns shown below.
You should rotate tires front-to-back only if the tires are all the same size (patterns A-D).
For Front-Wheel Drive Vehicles
For Front-Wheel Drives, the two front tires stay on the same side of the car and move to the rear. The rear tires switch sides and move forward.
Front Tires: Move to rear and switch sides.
Rear Tires: Move to front on the same side.
For Rear-Wheel Drive Vehicles
For Rear-Wheel Drives, the two rear tires stay on the same side and move forward. The front tires switch sides and move to the back.
Front Tires: Move to rear on the same side.
Rear Tires: Move to front and switch sides.
For Four-Wheel Drive Vehicles
If you have a Four-Wheel Drive, both sets of tires swap sides and positions – the front tires move back and switch, and the rear tires move forward and switch sides.
Front Tires: Move to rear and switch sides.
Rear Tires: Move to front and switch sides.
For Directional Tires
Directional tires have special tread patterns that are optimized to work specifically on the left or ride side of the vehicle. There are usually markings on the tire sidewalls to tell you which side the tire should be on. In this case, your front left tire should switch with the rear left and front right with the rear right – switching sides can be dangerous for directional tires.
Front Tires: Front left to rear left, front right to rear right.
Rear Tires: Rear left to front left, rear right to front right.
Some vehicles are equipped with different-sized tires and wheels on the front versus the rear axle. In that case, pattern E is suggested (if non-directional tires are mounted).
Always observe the arrows molded on the sidewall when rotating tires with a directional tread pattern. These arrows indicate the turning direction of the tire, which must be carefully respected. In the case of same-size directional tires, you could follow pattern A.
Vehicles that use different-sized directional tires or wheels with different front and rear offsets with directional tires will require dismounting, mounting, and rebalancing to rotate tires correctly. Always check your vehicle owner’s manual for any recommendations by your vehicle manufacturer.
3. Checking Your Tire Treads
The tire tread condition is one indicator of your vehicle’s health. Regular checks of all four tires can help diagnose potential problems that may require professional intervention. Inspect your tires at least once a month, as well as before and after long journeys.
Signs to look out for:
Tread wear bars are visible: These bars of hard rubber are visible when your tire’s tread has become worn. If these tread wear bars show up, it’s time to buy a new set of tires. If you’re unsure where they are, you’ll see a sidewall mark indicating where to look.
Your tire depth gauge indicates worn treads: There should be a minimum of 2-3mm tread depth. It’s a good idea to purchase an inexpensive tread depth gauge to check that your tires meet the legal minimum. Make sure you take measurements inside and outside of your treads.
Small objects are lodged in the tread: It’s not uncommon for small objects to get stuck in your treads. If stuck in the groove, take them out carefully, ensuring not to damage the tire. If you spot something that looks like it’s gone through the rubber, like a nail, leave it in until you can get to Signature Total Car Care. Otherwise, you’re likely to end up with a flat tire.
Tires are worn on the outside: If you notice that your tires are worn on both edges, you might need to inflate them or check for leaks. Tires lose air naturally but driving on underinflated tires uses more fuel and puts you at greater risk of accidents. Make sure you check the pressure regularly. If you notice that only the front tires have worn edges, you might be taking curves and corners too quickly.
Excessive wear in the center of the tread: If the center is wearing more than the outer edges, you might have overinflated your tires, increasing the risk of a tire blowout. Find the manufacturer’s specifications, get a pressure gauge and then deflate to the recommended pressure level.
Uneven wear across a single tire: The wear patterns on your treads can alert you to problems elsewhere on your vehicle. If you notice uneven patches of wear or bald spots, you might need your wheels balanced or aligned. Sometimes bald spots indicate that your shocks are worn. Talk to a professional.
Uneven wear across the tire footprint: Your tires won’t wear out at the same rate. The front of your vehicle carries the engine and does most of the steering work, so tires on your front axle will wear out more quickly. You should have your suspension checked if they seem to be wearing more than usual. If wear is greater on one side of the vehicle than the other, it might be time for an alignment.
The saw-toothed pattern on tire edges: If you notice that your tires have a saw-toothed or feathered appearance around the edges, the likely cause is erratic rubbing against the road. That’s a sign that you may need an alignment.
4. Tire Replacement
Regular inspection and maintenance of your tires will help prolong their lifespan, but all tires will wear out eventually.
Tire life varies. It depends on your driving habits, climate, and how well you maintain your tires. All tires wear out or become damaged and will eventually need replacing.
The treads are worn: Even with the best maintenance, your treads will wear out over time. Most tires have tread wear bars. These bars of hard rubber show up on your tire when your tread depth has exceeded the limit for safe driving, which is generally 1.6mm. You should also check your treads for uneven wear patterns that can indicate other problems with your tires or vehicle.
There is visible damage: Check your sidewalls and treads for damage. If you notice small cracks in the sidewall – known as “crazing” – it’s time to replace the tires. Sidewalls aren’t very thick, and a damaged sidewall can cause your tire to fail. You should also check treads, shoulders, and sidewalls for bubbles, blisters, cuts, or cracks. These are a sure sign that you need new tires, even if the tires don’t look worn out.
When buying replacement tires, it’s a good idea to replace all four tires at once. If you only buy two, then make sure they match the partly worn tires. Ensure to mount the tires on the car’s rear axle, providing better traction and stability while driving.
At Signature Total Car Care, our motto is: “We treat your car as if it is our own.” Before you head out on your summer vacation, if you’re driving, protect your family by reviewing these 4 important safety tips for vehicle tire care. Call us today at 404-369-5644, Email Us or fill out our inquiry form to book an appointment.