The Province Newspaper: Zack’s Service Facts
Zack Spencer – Friday, October 9, 2009
It is probably safe to say that most people don’t even think about their tires unless they get a puncture or they are worn to the point that they need to be replaced. What if I told you that taking just a little bit of time every few weeks to check your tire pressure could save you money on fuel and delay the need to replace your tires.
Keeping your tires in good condition also maintains a consistent level of traction as the amount of traction your vehicle has will effect braking and determine the handling characteristics. Since checking your tires regularly is a good way to save money, the simplest thing to do is to check the tire pressure on all four tires every second tank of gas. Natural Resources Canada stated that just one under-inflated tire will reduce the efficiency of your vehicle equal to using two weeks worth of fuel per year. Imagine how much extra fuel you would be using if all four tires were under inflated! Look for the proper tire pressure on your car, not on the side of the tire. (The number on the tire is the maximum pressure, not the recommended tire pressure.) Under0finlated tires will cause handling problems when cornering and braking, due to the sidewalls not having enough support. Over-inflated tires will wear unevenly and need to be replaced prematurely. The good new for many new vehicle owners is that your car might be equipped with a tire pressure monitoring system, which alerts the driver if one or more tires are under inflated. These systems are good at detecting a puncture but for slight variations in tire pressure, the best idea is to also check them manually.
Now that the cool and wet weather is arriving you need to ensure that your tires are in their best condition. If your tires are too worn and the tread is not large enough to evacuate water, the tires can hydroplane when driving over standing water. When a vehicle hydroplanes, the tire are not in contact with the road and the driver has no control. To ensure that this doesn’t happen, check the wear bars in the grooves of your tires, if they are even with the tread then the tires are worn out. If you are unsure, get the tread checked by a technician to make certain they can handle wet conditions.
When replacing your tires, ask if the wear on the tread is even. If the tire is wearing more on the inside or outside edge, then you should get a wheel alignment to prevent your new tires form wearing out prematurely. Tires that have uneven tread wear will not track down the road properly and could prove to be a safety risk in an emergency maneuver. When choosing a new set of tires it is a good idea to talk to a technician to find out the proper type of tire for your needs. If you have a performance car then your requirements are totally different than person replacing tires on a small truck or SUV. There are different ratings for how sticky the tires are and how long they will last. The softer the rubber compound the faster they will wear out. There is a big difference between an all season tire, summer tire, all weather and winter tire. Depending on what type of driving you do and the type of vehicle you drive it is important to get the right tire to match your needs.
Your tires are a integral part of your vehicle’s safety and performance. Check to see if your tires need replacing, if your alignment is correct and if they are inflated properly. Maintaining your tires will keep you safe and can save you money.