When you think about your car's most important safety features, you might think about seatbelts and airbags. Those are important, but you need to consider the state of your tires as well. Your tires are what help to keep your car under control. They can also help you can avoid accidents and auto insurance claims.
Here’s what to keep an eye on when checking your tires.
Check Your Tire Pressure Monthly
Even good tires lose air pressure over time. In addition, changing weather also impacts the air pressure in your tires. If there isn't enough pressure in your tires, you lose gas mileage. Your tires might wear out faster in this instance, and they might not grip the road as well. Meanwhile, if your tires have too much air pressure, you're at greater risk of a blowout.
There should be a sticker on the inside of your driver's door that tells you the correct pressure. If you want to check your tire pressure, many automotive shops sell inexpensive handheld gauges and electric pumps.
Keep An Eye On Your Tire Tread
Your tire treads are what grip the road and brush away water during rainstorms. No tread means no grip — and possible problems steering or slowing down.
A good way to check your tread is by sticking the top of a penny into the tread. If the tread doesn't at least cover Abe Lincoln's hair, it's probably time for new tires.
Don't Skip Tire Rotations
Tire rotations help your tires last longer by helping them to wear evenly. Each tire comes under different forces when you turn, so leaving tires in the same spot for too long could cause one side of the tread to wear out faster than the others.
Most shops will also inspect your tires for any signs of wear or other problems when you go for a rotation. While some mechanics might to sell things you don't need, it’s easy for you to find tire wear before you bring the car into the shop. So, if you take this step, you should be able to tell if a recommended tire repair is actually needed.
Replace Your Tires Every Six to Ten Years
Even when you haven't worn out the tread, tires may crack or dry rot over time. This creates a greater risk of tire failure or an accident that could increase your car insurance rates. Recommendations for the maximum time you should keep tires, regardless of wear, range from six to ten years.