Maintaining Your Tires Keeps Your Car Healthy

By: Terry Lowery

We often ignore our tires unless they're flat. But they play avital role in the overall condition of your car. Maintain themproperly, and you'll save money on repairs and on fuel costs.

Keeping your tires properly inflated ensures that they wearlonger and can prevent accidents. Your car likely has a card orsticker attached to the door edge or the inside of the glove boxdoor. The right amount of air your tires need is specified here.In case your car doesn't have this sticker, you can check yourowner's manual.

Serious accidents can happen if your tires are under-inflated oroverloaded. One of my tires blew-out on me and caused anaccident. Luckily I was on a little traveled country road andwas going slowly. I hate to think of what might have happened ifI had been in major traffic.

Buy your own quality tire gauge. You can't tell if tires areinflated properly just by looking. And the air meters at yourservice station may not be correct!

Ask your auto supply dealer for a tire gauge calibrated up to 80PSI. They'll know what you mean, even if you don't.

Take a moment at the beginning of each month to check your tirepressure (don't forget the spare! Uhm, you do have a spare tire,don't you??) Check them before you get in the car to drive.Write down the actual under-inflation amount for each tire. Takethis info with you to the service station.

Now measure the inflation again and record these numbers. (Don'tworry, this only takes a couple minutes.) Now inflate the tiresto a level that equals the warm pressure (that you just took)plus the first under-inflation amount. (called the "cold"inflation pressure)

If the above instructions sound intimidating or confusing, takeyour car to a shop and give them the "cold" pressure numbers.They'll put the correct amount of air in your tires for aminimum fee - sometimes they'll not charge you at all.

The leading cause of tire failure is under-inflation. So make ahabit to check them once a month.

Overloading your vehicle can lead to tire failure, too. Justbecause you have a pick-up truck doesn't mean it can carry aninfinite load.

Schedule a tire check into your calendar each month and you'llsave money, save fuel, and perhaps, even save your family from acar accident

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