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Q: How Can I Extend the Life of my Tires?

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How can I extend the life of my tires?

A: Tires can be a costly part of the car ownin...

Tires can be a costly part of the car owning experience, especially if you happen to be driving a large truck or SUV. Learning to recognize the signs that your tires are in good health or not is the first step towards knowing if you need to replace your tires, therefore getting the most out of your tires and spend less time and money replacing them.

Checking your tire pressure weekly is one of the most important preventative measures you can take in keeping your tires healthy. Obtain a quality pressure gauge and take about 5 minutes each week to make sure each of your tire’s pressure is set to the manufacturer's specifications. This information will be located in your vehicle’s owner manual, as well as on the sticker inside the door jamb on the driver's door. While checking tire pressure be sure to feel the tires for uneven wear, as well as for any possible nails or foreign objects that may be stuck in the tire, which could lead to an air leak.

Your next move will be to rotate your vehicle’s tires every 5000 miles. This will allow all four tires to wear evenly together. Keeping your tires balanced and the alignment in specifications will also help increase tire life. Unbalanced tires and alignments out of spec are tire killers. I have seen brand new tires wear out in just a few weeks due to a bad alignment.

Making sure your shocks and struts are in good working order will also increase the life of the tire. Worn out shocks and struts can lead to the tire bouncing up and down, rather than staying firmly planted on the ground. This causes the tire to wear unevenly. Every time the tire comes down and meets the ground the tire gets scuffed and creates an uneven pattern called cupping. If you run your hand down the tread of your tire, it will feel wavy.

Practicing good driving habits, such as avoiding hitting curbs and being aware of potholes, is also beneficial. If you live in an area where it snows and you have a set of winter tires, swapping out your winter tires for summer tires as soon as the bad weather retreats will give you longer life on those softer winter tires.

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