The Wheel Dangers Worn Tires Put on Your Family…and How to Roll Through Them
Your vehicle’s wheels are the support system of your ride. They not only keep your car from scraping the ground, but they’re the reason your car moves—unless you’d prefer to take the Flintstones’ approach.
Tires are placed on your vehicle’s wheels to absorb impacts and create a smoother ride. Sadly, too many car owners dismiss this relationship and instead of properly taking care of their tires, they ignore signs of wear and tear and continue to drive on them.
This is ridiculous! Would you run a marathon without shoes on? Would you climb a mountain with a sprained ankle? What about ice skating with a broken foot? By driving on damaged tires you’re basically adopting the same crazy mentality. When tires are worn, they can’t properly grip the road, stabilize or control the car’s direction, or protect the wheels. This in turn puts you and your family at risk for a catastrophic accident.
Worn Tire Warning Signs
Every year five percent of vehicle crashes are caused by tire problems. Although five percent my not seem that high, when you consider that a simple routine check could prevent these types of accidents from happening at all, five percent is a pretty significant number. As such, the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) has started a year-round program, “Be Tire Smart—Play Your Part,” in an effort to help drivers learn more about how to keep their tires in good working condition
The RMA recommends that drivers take five minutes every month to evaluate their tires and ensure they are safe to drive. The warning signs that you need to watch out for include the following:
- Low tread depth. If the tread on your tires measures less than 1/16 of an inch in depth, your tires can’t provide you with the safety you need. And when you drive on wet roads, you’ll need twice as much braking pressure to maneuver safely. An easy way to tell of your treads are too short is by using the tread wear indicator bar. If the tread wear indicator bar begins to make an appearance, or you can see flat rubber bars that run perpendicular to the direction of the tread itself, start saving up to buy new tires.
- Deformities. Cracks, bulges, punctures, embedded foreign objects, or tears in the tire mean it’s time to put it out to pasture. Tire blowouts commonly occur when these deformities show up as pressure within the tire escapes through holes.
- Low tire pressure. If a red or yellow maintenance light on your dashboard indicates that your tire pressure is low, then you’re going to need to get it checked out. The loss of pressure could be due to a host of issues including punctures, slow leaks, or comprised rubber.
You can have the most expensive, high-quality tires on your car, but they won’t protect you if they are neglected and in bad shape. Remember, you put your tires through a tremendous amount of wear and tear, it’s only natural that they will require periodic maintenance and replacement. Fortunately, caring for them is quite simple. Be sure you regularly do the following:
- Check inflation. Underinflated tires are three times more likely to cause accidents than those that have the proper amount of air in them. Since all tires lose pressure over time, you’ll need to check them about once a month. Make sure their inflation matches the p.s.i. (pounds per square inch, a measure of air pressure) number in your vehicle manual or on the tire sidewall.
- Routinely monitor. Checking your tires for signs of wear could save your life. Look for cuts, bulges, or punctures in the sidewall and make sure the tread is thick enough before you hit the road.
- Replace the set. Tires aren’t known for being cheap and some motorists will forgo replacing all of them when it’s time. Swapping out one or two tires at a time puts you at risk for getting into an accident. For instance, if you replace just the front tires, you could fishtail on sharp turns. And if only the back tires are new, you could lose traction in wet weather.
Do you have any additional tire safety tips you’d like to share, or do you know firsthand how dangerous poorly maintained tires can be? Let us and our clients benefit from your wisdom by sharing your stories in the comment section provided. Your knowledge can help save lives.