Despite gas prices nearing record levels studies show many families are still planning to hit the road this summer. As such I have decided to write a series of blogs providing tips on how you can stay safe while on driving to your summer vacation destination. Today, I’m focusing on car care–specifically tire care. While it is important to remain vigilant about the condition of your tires throughout the year it is especially critical in warm weather because long trips, heavy loads, high speeds and higher temperatures all put additional stress on your tires.
Before you head out on the highway this summer be sure to do the following:
Spot Check Your Tires. At the very least you should inspect each of your tires to be sure there are no visible signs of wear or damage. Also, make sure there is enough tread on your tires and they are wearing normally. All grooves should be visible and deep enough to at least touch the top of Lincoln’s head on a penny inserted head first in the tread. Bald tires are unsafe and need to be replaced.
Inflation. During the summer months it is critical to check your tire pressure often with a gauge, especially on long trips. The best time to measure the pressure is when the tires are cold. Do this in the morning before you set out on your drive. You can find the recommended inflation pressure in your owner’s manual, on a sticker typically found near the door latch on the driver’s side. Be careful not to confuse the recommended inflation pressure with the maximum inflation pressure shown on the side of the tire. At the recommended inflation pressure, tires will last longer and your car will use less fuel.
Overload. Serious injury can result from overloading your vehicle. Your car and tires are designed to operate safely only up to their load limits. These limits are shown in your owner’s manual and on the certification plate on the edge of the driver’s door.
Don’t Speed. It’s not a good idea to drive at a high rate of speed for a long time, particularly in hot weather. Follow the posted speed limits. In most cases doing so will get you better gas mileage.