(StatePoint) Today’s cars come with some impressive features. But no matter what up-to-date tech your car boasts, it’s your tires that connect it to the road, playing a crucial role in safety and performance.
With more than a century of experience, the experts at Cooper Tires are offering facts and tips every driver should know.
Proper inflation can extend a tire’s life and increase fuel efficiency, saving you money. Don’t be fooled by visuals, however. Even when tires look properly inflated, they may be under-inflated by as much as 50 percent. Also, tire pressure decreases when temperatures drop, so the changing seasons are a good reminder to check pressure.
Ensure valve caps are on every tire, and when replacing tires, have a new valve stem assembly installed. They keep out moisture and dirt, and provide an additional seal to maintain inflation.
Tire tread helps maintain traction, improves handling and helps prevent hydroplaning. Additionally, bald tires are more likely to be damaged by potholes and other road hazards. The tread on your tires should be more than 2/32 of an inch deep.
While ideally, you’ll replace all four tires at once, if you can only purchase two, the new pair should always be installed on the rear axle. This will help maintain control on wet roads and during sudden maneuvers.
Never purchase or install used tires. Used tires, especially those with an unknown history, should be considered dangerous.
“All season” tires are designed for year-round moderate weather. For severe winter conditions, install winter tires formulated to improve braking and handling on snow and ice. Many brands identify winter tires with a special icon. On Cooper Tires for example, look for the 3-Peak Mountain or Snowflake symbol located on the tire’s sidewall.
A 10-minute, do-it-yourself inspection will get you road-ready. Follow these steps monthly and before long road trips.
• Air pressure. Check air pressure when tires are cool (a minimum of three hours after driving).
For proper inflation pressure, don’t check the tire’s sidewall, which indicates maximum pressure allowed. Instead, check your vehicle’s owner’s manual or the placard found on the driver’s side doorjamb, glove box or fuel door.
Remove the valve cap, take the tire gauge and press firmly on the valve stem. If the reading is lower than the recommended level, add air and check again. Over inflated? Push on the metal valve core with the nub on the back of the tire gauge. Once the recommended pressure is reached, replace the valve cap.
• Tread. Insert the edge of a penny in the tire tread with Lincoln’s head down. If the top of his head is visible at any point around the tire, it’s time to replace the tire.
• Overall condition. Check for cuts, cracks, splits, punctures, irregular wear and bulges. If any are spotted, or if you’re doubtful about the condition of your tires, get a professional inspection.
For more safety tips and information, visit coopertire.com.
Tires are more important than many drivers realize. To help your family stay safe on the road, get tire-savvy.