A well-known nursery rhyme ‘The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round’ has children singing about a bus and how the wheels go round and round and it goes ‘all through the town.’ As the rhyme continues on, it switches from the wheels to the wipers, and then the horn, and then the lights, and so on. But it all starts with the wheels on the bus going round and round. Any time you drive somewhere, it always starts with your tires on the road going round and round. However, if your tires are not in good condition, they may not continue going round and round, and that puts you at risk. No matter how well you drive, poor tires can create dangerous situations.
Did you know that:
- In the U.S. there are nearly 11,000 tire-related crashes, resulting in almost 200 people killed each year? Globally the numbers are even greater.
- 1 in 4 cars have at least one tire that is significantly under-inflated?
- Not having enough air in your tires and failing to rotate your tires, among other maintenance requirements—can lead to a flat tire, blowout, or the tread coming off your tire?
5 Tips for Tire Safety
However the great news is that implementing the following five tips can prevent a majority of those crashes. With proper tire maintenance you can improve your safety and also save money.
Ensure you have the proper tire pressure. This is the most important step of good tire maintenance. Improper tire pressure can affect your safety, how long your tires will last, and your fuel consumption. Once a month, check the air pressure of your tires (including the spare). The best time to do it is while your tires are “cold,” meaning when your car hasn’t been driven for three hours. Having the proper pressure also improves your gas mileage that can result in savings at the gas pump, by as much as 11 cents per galleon. Remember that a tire can suddenly lose pressure if you drive over a pothole or bump into a curb when parking.
- Check the tread on your tire. At the same time you are checking your tire pressure, check the tire tread. A poor tread can result in your car slipping when the road is wet or icy. Tire now have built-in “treadwear indicators” that indicate when a tire is worn, but an even easier indicator is to take a penny and place Lincoln’s head upside down into the tread. If you can see the top of his head, it is time to get new tires.
- Have your tires balanced and aligned. With balanced tires, they will rotate properly and not cause your car to shake or vibrate. Having your wheels aligned helps improve the life of your tires and keeps your car from veering to the left or the right.
- Do a regular rotation of your tires. A tire rotation can reduce irregular wear and help your tires to last longer. However, some cars do have different front and rear tires. Then tire rotation is not recommended. Always check your owner’s manual to determine if you should rotate your tires, and if you should, then determine how frequently it should be done.
- When replacing your tires use tires that are the same size as your car’s original tires, or ones recommended by your owner’s manual.
A Bonus Tire Safety Tip
A bonus tip for tire safety is to keep alert for any tire recalls. If you registered your tires when you purchased them, then the manufacturer will use that information to let you know of any recalls. However, you can also learn about recalls by going to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and subscribing to NHTSA’s Recall Notification E-Mail System.
Follow these five tips (and the bonus) and your tires can go round and round and you can arrive at your destination safely, and what can be a better ending to any nursery rhyme than that—arriving safe and sound to your destination.
Newer vehicles have Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems, but these only activate a warning when a tire is significantly underinflated. You should still conduct a monthly tire pressure check to ensure your tires are always properly inflated.