A quick guide to checking your tires

Whether it’s winter or summer, fall or spring, one thing you’ll want to maintain is your tires. Of course, you want to maintain your entire vehicle; any component crapping out on you is one component too many. But equipping proper tires and performing regular maintenance checks on them can go a long way to not only ensure your safety behind the wheel, but that of your passengers and the other drivers you share the road with. Additionally, proper tire care can extend the life of your tires, meaning not only will you have more tread on your tires, but also more in your wallet (does that analogy work? Ah, hell. Money. We mean money).




1. Rotate your tires regularly.

checkingyourtires_2This helps to prevent wear and tear. Generally, rotation frequency schedules vary between 3,000 – 7,000 miles (4,800 – 11,000 km) – however, if you aren’t the type of person to keep meticulous records, a good rule of thumb is to rotate your tires every other time you get your oil changed. Look at it this way, you’re at the shop anyways, might as well kill two birds with one stone. Plus, it gives you more time to enjoy another cup of your mechanic’s complimentary coffee.

You can’t eliminate wear on your tires, but rotating them will help them wear evenly. If you’re worried about the cost, don’t be – many shops will rotate your tires for a minimal fee. You can also go the extra mile and invest in a jack and rotate them yourself. You’ll save money in the long run and ensure your tires wear evenly at the same time.


2. When replacing tires, make sure the new ones go on the rear axle.

checkingyourtires_1When buying tires in pairs, it’s best to install the new tires on the rear axle; moving the worn tires to the front, regardless as to whether your vehicle is front, rear, or AWD. New tires on the rear axle help the driver more easily maintain control on wet roads since deeper treaded tires are better at resisting hydroplaning. Sarah Robinson, a Michelin tire safety expert, recently put it this way when asked about this very thing on a morning talk show, “If you lose traction in the rear first, the car’s gonna spin. Physics always wins.”


3. Check tire pressure pressure regularly.

checkingyourtires_3Incorrect tire pressure can impede proper cornering, breaking, and the stability of your vehicle. Any of these things can have some pretty serious consequences. It’s recommended you check each of your tires to ensure they are at the proper pressure. Remember to always check all four – just one improperly inflated tires can cause you to have an accident.


4. Maintain proper tire pressure

checkingyourtires_4Your tires should indicate the recommended pressure to which they should be filled. Failing that, check your owner’s manual or the inside of your vehicle’s door.


5. Check tire tread depth regularly.

checkingyourtires_5If you have one, use a tire tread gauge. Insert the pin into the tread, and examine the result. Consult the table below to evaluate your readings.

Tread Depth

  • 6/32″: Your tires have sufficient tread depth
  • 5/32″: Consider replacing your tire if you’re concerned about wet weather conditions
  • 4/32″ – 3/32″: You should consider replacing your tire or at the very least monitor it closely
  • 2/32″: You tire is legally considered to be bald and needs to be replaced as soon as possible

Remember these tasks take very little time to complete and even less effort. The benefits of completing them however mean more money in your pocket and a safer drive for everyone.

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