The Easy Tire Checklist For Every Stage

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    Almost everyone drives in the U.S. The freedom to go wherever, whenever, is alluring. But that wanderlust is tempered with the responsibility of properly maintaining your car. One essential component of routine maintenance is caring for the tires. Read below for some basic tips on what to do for every stage in the life of your car’s tires.

    How to Find the Right Tires.

    When looking at tires, take a look at the sidewalls. The sidewalls are printed with information about the tire, including what type of vehicle it is meant for as well as the psi. It is important to make a note of the Department of Transportation (DOT) to ensure each tire adheres to safety standards. The code tells customers who manufactured the tires and the factory where they were made as well as the year. The Uniform Tire Quality Grading (UTQG) tells the buyer the tire’s rating on treading, temperature, and temperature grade. Specialty tires meant for mud or snow will have other codes such as S or M. The vehicle owner’s manual that came with your car will also specify preferred tires. In some vehicles, tires that come standard will be marked with a special code. This letter code is unique to each brand, so again check the vehicle owner’s manual to be sure.

    When to Get Your Tire Repaired.

    How often do you check the alignment of your vehicle’s tires? It is recommended to check alignment at least every 6,000 miles. If that is difficult to remember, just have it done when the oil is changed. Tires that wear unevenly cannot be fixed back to an even tread unless the tire is replaced, but the trend can be halted.

    A patch is a simple fix to a small puncture that is not on the sidewall or shoulder. If the hole is on one of these locations, tire repair is out of the question and the whole thing will need to be replaced. Basic tire repair can include a plug for a puncture, but this is a very short term solution and should be used with caution.

    When to Get New Tires.

    A tread of more than 2/32 is necessary for a good tire with enough traction. Worn treads can actually cause other areas of the vehicle to wear down faster too. Another problem to watch out for is old tires that have been exposed to the elements. Cracks and cuts are another sign the rubber of the tire is breaking down. A blister can also be early evidence that the tire may blow out if not seen to soon.

    Vehicle maintenance neglect in the U.S. adds up to about $2 billion each year. Take care of your vehicle so it can take you more places.