Under-inflated tires are a leading cause of auto crashes. Typically, they lead to uneven treads or overheating which could result in a flat or a blowout. Therefore, keeping your tires properly inflated can make a big difference in your safety. As an added bonus, it can also improve your gas mileage by 3.3 percent. There are a number of other things to consider to help ensure your safety on the road.
Here are a few important tips to follow when checking your tires:
- Look for the sticker. Inside the driver’s-side door there should be a sticker with the recommended tire pressure for your vehicle (if it’s not there, check the owner’s manual).
- Check the tires before you drive. The most accurate readings happen when tires are cold—meaning they haven’t been driven for three hours.
- Get a good tire pressure gauge. Some newer cars have an in-dash tire pressure monitoring system. If your vehicle doesn’t have this feature, or you want the security of a backup, keep a good pressure gauge in your car. When you unscrew the valve cap on the tire, hold the nozzle firmly and squarely on the valve. Hold it straight, as tilting the gauge will affect the reading. Importantly, make sure your valves have caps—it’s a good idea to store a few extra caps along with your gauge.
- Check your tires once a month. And always check them before taking off on a long trip. Even though colder weather will reduce tire pressure and warmer weather will increase it, you should still inflate or deflate only to the recommend pressure.
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