Proper Tire Care Means Safety, Fuel Savings

by Larry Sabler

It won't take you but a moment to check your tires before you get ready to go on the road. Well-maintained tires keep your car safer, help it last longer and save you money at the gas pump, too.

These tips from the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) will help to keep your tires in good shape and your travels safe all year long:

Be careful when you choose your tires. Your choice of tires should be based on the type of car you have, and its loading capacity. Ask a dealer to help you select the right type of tire.

Buy a tire gauge and keep it handy in your car at all times. You can see if you need more air with this gauge.

Check your tire pressure at least once per month, and especially before a long trip. The pressure in your tires should be checked irregularly. Underinflation can cause damage that can be very costly and lead to failure of the tire. over inflation is not exactly a good thing either, since it can cause excessive wear and tear. The manufacturer's booklet is probably the best source of information.

If the weather is wet, no sense in rushing.

You should always try to get your tires rotated every 6,000 miles. If your tires show uneven wear, ask your automotive service professional to check for and correct any misalignment, imbalance or other mechanical problem involved before rotation.

Check your vehicle alignment periodically. Have an automotive professional check your alignment if you notice your vehicle is pulling to one side.

Take a quick look at the tire tread. If you would like to try, place a penny in the tread groove and don't remove it until you see part of Lincoln's head.

Check the tire sidewalls to make sure there are no gouges, cuts, bulges or other irregularities.

Make sure you don't overload your car, since excessive weight produces extra heat in your tires.

Have your tire balance checked periodically. You may have irregular wear if your wheel and tire aren't assembled correctly.

By performing routine maintenance, and especially tire care, you can save money and spend the day relaxing.