Maintaining Your Tires – Don’t Take Your Safety for Granted
When it comes to tire safety, how often do you remember to check your tires for proper inflation, abnormal wear, aging cracks or other damage? The honest answer is: hardly ever. Hey, don’t feel bad…you’re in good company. We’re all more or less guilty of neglecting the only thing between us and the road – our tires. Besides…who’s got the time? All you know is they looked pretty good three weeks ago when you took a quick glance at them. Too bad you missed the drywall screw working its way through the tread or the beginning of a tread separation. And, if you crash as a result, your car insurance rates could increase.
According to yearly estimates, nearly 11,000 drivers are involved in tire-related crashes. Of those, almost 200 die and many others are seriously injured. That doesn’t account for the countless tire-failures than don’t result in a crash or injury. When you consider, on average, drivers in the United States put more than 2.9 billion miles on their tires annually, it’s obvious we rely on those tires to get us to our destination safely. Studies indicate a large number of these crashes could be prevented through more public awareness of proper tire maintenance, which includes inflation and rotation, as well as understanding the risks of tire aging, recalls and complaints.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Department of Transportation both regard your safety as a top priority. That’s why they constantly advise consumers on tire safety, with updated recalls and complaints on specific tires or manufacturers, including information on how taking care of your tires can help you save money, reduce fuel consumption, and protect you on the road.
On certain vehicles, frequently checking tire condition is vital. One such vehicle is the 12-15 passenger van. Because they have a higher risk of rollovers, the NHTSA urges drivers of these vans to first make sure they have the correct size and load-rated tires, but more importantly, that they’re properly inflated prior to each and every trip.
Keeping a tire pressure gauge in your vehicle is a great way to check your tires at timely intervals for proper inflation. You may not be aware of it, but a tire can suddenly lose pressure if you drive over a pothole or bump into a curb when you park. Repeatedly hitting a curb can weaken the sidewall of the tire, leaving it likely to blowout unexpectedly.
Taking care of your tires can save you money
• Properly inflated tires can actually save you money – as much as 11 cents per gallon on fuel. Still, 81 percent of motorists drive around with improperly inflated tires.
• You can also extend the average life of a tire by following additional proper tire maintenance, including rotation, balance and alignment. All of these can help your tires last longer, which in the end will save you money.
• If your car is equipped with a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS), pay attention to it. Should the TPMS symbol light up on your dashboard, it means at least one tire may already be significantly underinflated. Don’t ignore it and keep driving. Take immediate action and have it checked out. Your safety could be at stake.
The more often you routinely check your tires for tire pressure, damage, and tread wear – the more you’ll reduce your chance of having a tire-related crash…and, the more it’ll become a habit.
Also, make it a habit to check you’re getting the best rate on your car insurance. Why not get a free car insurance quote today?
Do you check your tires regularly? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.