Hardly anyone likes shopping for new tires. It takes time and it costs money, so why not try to make your tires last as long as possible so that you are spared this experience? Here’s a look at how to make your tires last longer:
1) Rotate/balance your tires: At a bare minimum, you should be rotating and balancing your tires every 7,000 to 10,000 miles (or roughly every other oil change). It’s a fact that the front tires wear much faster than the rear tires, so having them rotated better evens out tread wear. And balancing tires reduces vibration, which thereby reduces tread and component wear. If you fail to regularly rotate and balance your tires, you’ll be very disappointed they last a much shorter time than you anticipate.
2) Proper inflation: Increased rolling resistance and reduced handling are just two ways that improperly inflated tires accelerate tread wear (not to mention pose a potential safety hazard as well). That’s why it’s advised that you check your tire pressure at least once a month to make sure the air pressure levels are at the manufacturer’s recommended settings. This is especially important when it starts to get colder because a 10 degree drop in temperature can reduce tire pressure by up to 2 pounds. Aside from reducing tread wear and tear, properly inflated tires also improve gas mileage.
3) Practice good driving habits: You should obviously be aware of your surroundings on the road and do your best to avoid the likes of tire-killing potholes and other hazards, but another tire-killer is driving aggressively – as in fast starts and hard stops. Specifically, fast starts and hard stops burn more tread off the tire than it would should you be driving more appropriately. Not only is aggressive driving bad for your tires, but for your engine, suspension, brakes and transmission too. On that note, aggressive driving can also be poor for your tires as a byproduct of a damaged suspension. Here are some other safe driving habits to keep in mind to prolong the life of your tires:
- Take turns slowly: Taking them fast can lead to stripped rubber and increased wear.
- Slow down: Speeding doesn’t just take its toll on your engine and fuel economy, but it can also take its toll on your tire tread.
- Drive lightly: Know how much cargo your vehicle can safely carry and also aim to drive lightly. That’s because regular driving with heavy loads can increase rolling resistance and shorten the life of your tires.
- Take the highway: If you have the option between taking the highway or taking the city streets to get from Point A to Point B, always opt for the highway – at least when it comes to your tires. That’s because with city driving, there’s much more stopping and starting, which puts more strain on the tire tread, than consistent driving.
4) Don’t use winter tires in the summer: Those that live in northern climates with challenging winters often opt to swap out their summer/all-season tires for winter tires during these snowy, icy months. That’s all good and dandy, as winter tires are purpose-built to increase vehicle stability and traction in challenging conditions. However, where many people get crossed up is not switching their winters tires back out for their warm weather tires after the worst of the weather is behind them for the year. This can be a tread-killer, as winter tires are generally made of softer rubber than all-season ones, which means they wear faster when driven on bare pavement.
5) Fix mechanical issues: If your vehicle has poor alignment this can cause excess tire wear. A bad tire rod can have a similar effect on your tires and they will wear down unevenly and faster than usual.
It should go without saying that vehicle maintenance is crucial to the long-term viability of your ride. These are a just a few things that you can do to help maximize the life cycle of your car tires and the safety of everyone that is riding in your car.