Tire care is an essential but often overlooked part of automotive maintenance. Thousands of pounds of vehicle weight ride on your tires, and if the tires are not in top shape, comfort and safety may become issues. Here are four ways to improve tire performance for a smooth and safe ride.
1. Check Tire Pressure
The simplest maintenance step you can take is to check air pressure. Tire pressure levels can fluctuate depending on air temperature and how recently they were driven, so check your tires while they are cold. A tire pressure gauge pencil is a must. This tool that will give you the accurate reading you are looking for. Check tire pressure monthly, and compare that number to the car manufacturer’s recommended numbers located on a placard inside the driver’s door jamb or on the inside of the glove box. That information can also be found in your owner’s manual. Inflate as necessary.
Rotating your tires on a scheduled basis will go a long way to ensure even wear and a longer life. It can also provide a smoother ride. Typically, tires should be rotated every 5,000 to 8,000 miles. Again, turn to your owner’s manual to determine the precise interval recommended for your car.
3. Keep Tabs on Wear and Tear
Excessive wear and tear means replacing your tires sooner than you had expected. Hold fast to the first two steps, and you’ll decrease the likelihood of needing to replace your tires earlier. Problems do happen, however, and that’s why tires should be inspected regularly for signs of wear, including blisters and bulges — things that can cause blowouts. Regardless of other signs of aging, always replace your tires when tread depth falls to 2/32 of an inch. It is better to make that exchange when just 1/8 of an inch of tread remains to maintain driving safety.
4. Change the Wheel and Tire Size
Another way to improve your ride is to change the wheel and tire size. The bigger the wheels and the larger the tires, the more likely you are to encounter a harsh ride. Sure, handling is improved with larger tires, but if ride comfort is your priority, then reduce the tire size by one inch. For example, if your car is outfitted with 19-inch tires, opt for 18-inch tires (don’t forget to check clearance with the smaller wheel). A good time to do this is when your current tires need replacement, but you don’t have to wait until then. Your tire retailer can discuss the options available to you, ensuring that your next set of tires improves vehicle ride.
Properly sized and inflated tires with minimal wear and tear can enhance your tire performance and ensure a smooth ride.
Check out all the steering and suspension parts
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Matt Keegan has maintained his love for cars ever since his father taught him kicking tires can be one way to uncover a problem with a vehicle’s suspension system. He since moved on to learn a few things about coefficient of drag, G-forces, toe-heel shifting, and how to work the crazy infotainment system in some random weekly driver. Matt is a member of the Washington Automotive Press Association and is a contributor to various print and online media sources.