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Wear and tear on your car's tires is inevitable, but with the correct maintenance schedule, you can make sure you get the best out of them. And by paying attention to signs that your tires are reaching the end of their life, you can get them changed before they start causing you problems. Let's take a look at the most important things about tires you need to know.
Your tires are the connection between your vehicle and the road, so it's critical that they are in great working order. If you're like a majority of U.S. motorists, you've experienced very challenging road conditions lately. A study from TRIP, a national transportation research group, shows that 33 percent of major U.S. roads are in poor condition. Driving on these roads costs motorists an average of $377 in extra vehicle repairs. Defective or damaged tires combined with less-than-perfect roads can add additional risks both to you and other drivers. For example, a flat tire can make your vehicle much more difficult to handle safely.
Knowing this, you want to make sure your vehicle's tires are in optimum condition to handle the roads. The experts at Planet Ford Dallas Love Field are here to help.
When your vehicle's tires are properly inflated, it can help you improve your fuel economy by 2 percent*. Proper inflation also optimizes your vehicles performance and handling, which will help you feel safer behind the wheel
A major cause of tire damage is improper inflation. Over time, your tires lose pressure which can cause irregular tread wear and poor gas mileage. On average, tires lose air at the rate of one pound per month. In colder temperatures, a tire will lose one pound of pressure for every 10-degree drop. A simple solution: check your tire pressure at least once a month for longer performance. Your vehicle may also be equipped with a tire pressure monitoring system. Displayed on your dashboard, it alerts you to sudden changes in tire pressure or low pressure in one or more of your tires.** If you're ever uncertain, just stop by our Quick Lane® Tire & Auto Center for experts that can make sure your tires are properly set up and keeping you connected to the road.
It's a good idea to inspect your tires at least once a month. If you drive long distances often, drive regularly on rough surfaces, or live in a cold climate, you may want to inspect them even more often.
One of the main purposes of regular inspections is to make sure your tires still have enough tread. You can do this by performing the quarter test. Place a quarter into the tread with Washington's head pointing downward. If you can't see Washington's head, the tread on your tire is at least 4/32 inches and can continue to be used. If his head is visible, you should buy new tires.
You can also perform this test with a penny, using Lincoln's head in the same way. The only difference here is that if you can still see Lincoln's head, it means that the tread on your tires is shallower than the safe limit, which means you need to replace them immediately.
You also should regularly test the pressure of your tires to make sure they comply with the manufacturer's recommendations. If you don't know what the recommended pressure of your tires is, check your owner's manual to find out.
To test tire pressure, you'll need a pressure gauge, which you can obtain from a hardware store or auto store. Push the gauge firmly into the tire's valve to get a reading. It's normal for a tire to lose approximately 1 pound per square inch (PSI) of pressure every month, but this can increase if you live in a cold climate.
There are various warning signs you should look out for when you inspect your tires. The first is any indication of a significant loss of tire pressure, which may indicate that you have a puncture. If your tire has been punctured, you may also notice a nail or other sharp item sticking in it.
When you're driving, a vibration coming from a tire or a thumping noise can mean that it's out of balance. Another possible sign of a tire problem is if you feel your vehicle pulling to one side while you're driving along a straight road. In that case, the side your car keeps pulling toward is where the problem tire is located.
You should also be concerned by uneven wear on your tires because it can cause difficulties with steering, braking, and handling. If you notice more wear in the middle of your tires, this is an indication that the pressure is too high. By contrast, excessive wear on the edges suggests that your tire pressure is too low. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports tires with low pressure as the main cause of tire-related accidents in the U.S. Underinflated tires can result in your vehicle being much more difficult to handle.
If you notice uneven wear on your tires, this could point to a problem with your car's wheel alignment, which a trained auto technician can repair. Alternatively, it may be a sign that it's time to get your tires rotated.
Your tires should be rotated every 7,000 to 10,000 miles of driving. It is important that this is done to prevent uneven wear, which occurs because each tire is impacted by braking and steering differently depending on whether it's on the front or back of your vehicle. Tire wear may also be impacted depending on whether your vehicle runs on an all-wheel-drive or front-wheel-drive system.
Due to the different tread patterns on tires, some tires can't be rotated. Others can only be moved from the back to the front, and vice versa, but need to remain on the same side of the vehicle. Your auto technician at Planet Ford Dallas can advise you about the type of tire rotation your car requires.
Ford recommends specific settings for the wheel alignment on its vehicles. If your wheels don't conform to these specifications, it can cause problems for the handling of your vehicle and your tires can wear unevenly. Our auto technicians can measure your wheel alignment and make adjustments to prevent these problems from arising.
It's well worth having your wheel alignment checked out each time you replace your tires. In addition, if you notice your vehicle drifting or pulling to one side while you drive, this can be a sign of a wheel alignment issue that you should get checked out.
We hope you've now got a better idea of how to maintain your tires and that you feel confident about knowing when it's time to replace them. But if you still have questions, don't hesitate to contact us at Planet Ford Dallas. Our friendly team of auto experts is waiting to assist you with all of your tire queries, whether it's performing a repair, testing your tire pressure, or getting you a new set. Make a service appointment today so we can take care of your needs.
If you are in the market for a new set of tires, turn to our expert Ford Service technicians. They have the latest equipment to make sure your tires are installed correctly and are well maintained. Choose from 13 name-brand tires and get the assurance of our Low Price Tire Guarantee(â€). Why buy tires anywhere else, when Planet Ford Dallas Love Field has all of this and more?
*Sources: fueleconomy.gov, epa.gov.
**Excludes spare tire
â€ Valid on dealer-installed retail purchases only. Requires presentation of competitor's current price ad/offer on exact tire sold by dealership within 30 days after purchase. See participating dealership for details.