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Check Your Tire Pressure Regularly!

Why Checking Your Tire Pressure Is Important

Summer is a time for vacations and road trips, but before you hit the open road, make sure your car is ready for the journey. One of the most important things to check is your tire pressure.

Check your tire pressure before a long trip, because tires lose air over time. You need to maintain proper tire pressure year-round for safety and fuel efficiency. It’s not just about the distance you will be traveling, poor tire pressure can lead to accidents and result in poor fuel efficiency. Additionally, under-inflated tires can overheat and cause a blowout. This is especially dangerous at high speeds.

How to check your tire pressure

The best way to check your tire pressure is with a digital tire pressure gauge. You can find these at most auto parts stores. They are relatively inexpensive and easy to use.

To check your tire pressure:

  1. Remove the cap from the tire valve.

  2. Press the gauge firmly onto the valve.

  3. Read the pressure on the gauge.

  4. If the pressure is low, use a air pump to add air to the tire until it reaches the recommend pressure according to the tires specifications.

  5. Replace the cap on the valve

Driving with a flat tire is dangerous for a number of reasons. When you drive on a flat tire, the car will pull to one side. This can make it difficult to control the car, and can lead to accidents. In addition, if you have a blowout while driving, you may lose control of the car and crash.

Check your spare tire before you go on a trip. If you have a flat tire and need to use your spare, you don't want to find out that it is also flat. You may think that small spare tire is just for getting you to the nearest service station, but it can actually be used for a long distance if you drive slowly. If you have a flat tire, replace it as soon as possible. Driving on a flat tire can damage the wheel and the tire. What was originally just a flat tire could cause you to need a a new rim.

How to change a tire?

Most people don't know how to change a tire, which is an essential skill for every driver. If you're lucky enough never to have a flat tire on the road, it's still wise to learn this simple process. It will take just minutes and could help save your life someday. But if you do get that dreaded call from your someone you know, here's what you need to do.

First, find a safe place to pull over and turn on your hazard lights. If you're on the shoulder of a busy highway, it's best to move your car as far off the road as possible. Once you're safely parked, engage your parking brake.

Next, locate your jack and spare tire. Your car's owner's manual will show you where these are located. Before you do anything else, loosen the lug nuts on your flat tire using the wrench. You don't need to remove them completely, just loosen them enough so they'll be easy to remove when the time comes.

Now it's time to jack up your car. Place the jack under the frame of your car (consult your owner's manual for the best location), and turn the crank to lift the tire off the ground. Once the tire is high enough, remove the lug nuts and pull the tire off.

Now it's time to put on the spare. Put the tire on the wheel and hand-tighten the lug nuts as much as possible. Lower the car to the ground and finish tightening the lug nuts with the wrench.

Once the tire is changed, be sure to drive slowly and carefully to your destination. You don't want to damage your spare tire by driving too fast.

When should I get new tires?

Your tires are a major safety consideration for your vehicle. They help you steer and stop, keep the car on the road in wet weather, and provide a comfortable ride. Tires don't last forever, though. The rubber gets hard and brittle with age and the tread wears down, making it more difficult to stop and less effective in wet weather.

How often you need new tires depends on several factors, including: How you drive - Hard acceleration, braking, and cornering can all shorten the life of your tires

  • The roads you drive on - Paved roads are easier on tires than gravel or dirt roads

  • The climate you live in - Extreme heat or cold can also shorten tire life

  • How well you maintain your tires - Regularly checking and inflating your tires to the proper pressure can help extend their life

Did you know that underinflated tires can decrease your gas mileage? According to this study by the Office of ENERGY EFFICIENCY & RENEWABLE ENERGY

"Keeping automobile tires inflated to their recommended pressure saves fuel, according to an Oak Ridge National Laboratory study. A 2009 Toyota Corolla was tested with all four tires at the recommended pressure (black line), then at 75% of the recommended pressure (green line), and again at 50% of the recommended pressure (blue line). With all four tires at 75% of the recommended pressure, a vehicle’s fuel economy is about 2-3% lower. Vehicles with tires inflated at 50% of the recommended pressure used 5–10% more fuel. It should be noted that underinflated tires not only waste fuel but also pose serious safety risks."

When should I rotate my tires?

Your car's tires wear down unevenly, so it's important to rotate them every few thousand miles. Tires should be rotated every 6,000 to 8,000 miles. However, this varies depending on the type of driving you do and the type of tire you have. Consult your owner's manual or a automotive technician for more specific

As you can see, there are many reasons you should maintain the proper tire pressure, know how to change a flat tire and when getting new tires is necessary. Tire maintenance should be an essential part of your vehicle ownership routine so that you don't find yourself stranded on the side of the road without a spare or any idea what to do next!

Car Maintenance Tips

Properly maintaining your car is key to keeping it in top condition. It can also help ensure your safety, the safety of your passengers and your fellow drivers. Here are some ways to help keep your car running smoothly.

The Car Maintenance Checklist

Consider adding these items to your vehicle maintenance "to do" list:

Inspect and Maintain Tires

Knowing how to maintain your car's tire pressure can help reduce wear on the tires and helps ensure you're getting good gas mileage. Checking your tire pressure includes finding the recommended pressure, checking the PSI and inflating or deflating your tires accordingly.

A flat tire is a hazard that can be dangerous to you and your car. There are several preventative steps you can take to help avoid a blowout, including rotating your tires every 5,000 to 10,000 miles and watching for tire recalls.

Change the Oil

Routinely checking and changing your car's oil is essential to keeping its engine in running condition. Check your oil each month and change it as directed in the car's owner's manual.

You can change your oil yourself or take it to a service center. If you choose to do it yourself, learn the necessary steps to drain the fluid, set the correct oil level and dispose of old oil.

You should also know which type of motor oil is best for your car, regardless of whether you change the oil yourself or take it to a service center. This generally means considering three things — the oil viscosity, whether to use synthetic versus non-synthetic oil and your car's mileage.

Check the Fluids

There are several fluids that should be kept at the appropriate levels to help keep your car running properly. According to Popular Mechanics, you or your mechanic should check:

  • Engine oil

  • Coolant

  • Power steering fluid

  • Brake fluid

  • Transmission fluid

A leak with any of these fluids can affect the way your car drives. If you spot a leak, you may be able to identify the fluid by its color. This can help you and your mechanic determine where the leak is coming from. It can also help speed up the repair process.

Test the Lights

A broken or burnt-out bulb is a safety hazard and might get you a ticket. Learn how to thoroughly inspect each bulb on your car. If a bulb is out, take your car to an expert to determine whether it's the bulb or the fuse that needs replacing.

Headlights are key safety lights on your car. Consider taking a few extra steps to help keep them shining bright, such as cleaning the lenses and replacing bulbs as they start to dim.

Replace Windshield Wipers

If your wipers aren't working like they used to, don't let the problem linger. Damaged or worn out blades can reduce visibility during a heavy rain or a snowstorm. Knowing how to inspect your wiper blades regularly and replace them when necessary is one way to help keep your car safe.

Change Your Engine Air Filter

A dirty engine air filter can allow dirt and other particulates into your car's engine and reduce its efficiency. Inspect your car's air filter once a year and replace it as needed.

Regular Checkups

Some routine car care tasks can be done at home, but others require trained technicians. Take your car to a technician if the check engine light comes on. Trained technicians can diagnose the problem through the car's on-board diagnostics (OBD-II) port.

A qualified repair shop will also be able to inspect and replace other core components like the alternator and the wheel bearings. Scheduling regular tune-ups will help ensure that your car gets other maintenance items repaired as well.

Have Your Brakes Checked

Your car's brake pads also require regular inspection. While driving, listen for any brake noise and pay attention to shuddering or vibrating from the brake pedal. If any concerns arise, consult a service center as soon as possible

Wash Your Car

Your car is subjected to all sorts of elements, from road salt and ice melt in the winter to tree sap and bird droppings in the summer. Some of these hazards are not only unsightly but can cause damage to paint and the undercarriage, according to AccuWeather.

Keeping your car clean may help prevent long-term damage. Find the car washing method that works for you and regularly wash your car.

Check Belts and Hoses

Keeping your car's belts and hoses in good shape can help keep your car running and may help you avoid a breakdown on the road. For example, if your serpentine belt breaks while you're driving, it may cause many of your car's systems to fail.

Having your belts and hoses checked at every oil change will help ensure that they're in good condition and don't need replacing.

Review Your Car Insurance

Just like regular car checkups, it's a good idea to review your car insurance policy from time to time. This can help ensure your policy's coverages, limits and deductibles are up-to-date and suitable for your current situation.

Keeping your car in good shape can help keep you and your passengers safe. And remember, if you're ever unsure about how to inspect or replace a car part, be sure to contact a local mechanic for help.

Article Originally published allstate.com

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