5 Tips for Tire Maintenance before a Trip

Check and Maintain your Tires before a Trip

The trunk is full, sunglasses are on, the top is down, and you are ready to hit the road. Now, put on the brakes because you have more than likely forgotten something: your tires. They're a vital part of the journey and making sure they're in top shape before you hit the road is even more important than making sure the right playlist is ready to blast out of the car's speakers.

Tire maintenance before a trip

Take care of these five things before setting off on your next adventure:

1. Bow to the pressure

It's important to always check tire pressure before heading out on a long trip or when carrying extra load. Driving on tires with improper inflation pressure is dangerous and can cause tire damage as well as affect the vehicle's ride, handling and fuel economy. Check your vehicle owner's manual for the manufacturer recommended tire pressure for all your tires, including your spare. Remember that tire pressure should be checked when the tires are "cold" which means when your car hasn't been driven for three hours or for less than a mile at moderate speed.

2. Get in the groove

When it comes to tires, bald is hardly beautiful. Tires should have more than 2/32-inch tread depth. Use a tread depth gauge, or check by inserting a penny into each tread groove with Lincoln's head upside down. If you can see the top of Lincoln's head, the tire is worn out and needs to be replaced. Also look for uneven wear, such as wear on one side of the tread. Flat spots may indicate a problem with the tire and should be checked by a tire service professional as soon as possible.

3. Get on your knees

Take a moment to closely inspect the state of your tires. Check for any cuts, cracks, splits or bruises in the tread and sidewall area. Also, bumps or bulges could mean separation within the tire body. If found, head to the nearest tire service professional before heading out to avoid the interruption and headache brought on by tire failure.

4. Rotate before you roll out

Before leaving for a road trip, it's a good idea to have a vehicle's tires rotated. Rotating your tires regularly (as recommended by the vehicle manufacturer, or every 5,000 miles) promotes even tread wear and helps the tire perform as designed.

5. Don't pack unnecessary luggage

Vehicles have maximum weight recommendations which can be found in your vehicle owner's manual. Your tires also have a maximum load rating stamped on their sidewall. Obeying these limits is important since excessive loads are hard on the tires and adversely affect the vehicle ride and handling. The heavier the car, the worse the fuel economy will be, as well.

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