As a mom, I’m so busy with my kids and all of their after school activities that I end up spending a LOT of time in the car, driving from point A to point B, and back again.
My vehicle is not brand new but it’s definitely not old, which means, I don’t usually have to worry about things malfunctioning. Fortunately, I only have to worry about having enough gas in the car, which I’m actually terrible at and it drives my husband crazy. I keep promising I’ll do better, but somehow it seems I’m always on E when he gets in to drive my car. Oops!
All jokes aside, it’s silly that I don’t pay more attention to the biggest tool carrying our most prized family possessions, our kids, around every day. My dad taught me to check the oil in my car when I was a teenager but I’ve never bothered with it as an adult. And tires? I never knew anything and always left that stuff for my husband to handle. Until now.
After a press trip to the Cooper Tires Vehicle Tire and Test Center in San Antonio, I’ve realized I need to be more involved in what is REALLY keeping my family safe in our car — the tires. No matter how safe your car is, a bad set of tires can be incredibly dangerous. And if you thought learning about tires sounds really boring, imagine doing spin-outs on a 14 acre wet pad and riding shotgun, sliding sideways, with retired Indy car driver, Johnny Unser, behind the wheel. It’s enough to really perk your ears up about the importance of tire safety!
1. Air pressure should be checked once a month. Under-inflation or overloading creates excessive stress and heat, which leads to tire failure. It can decrease the life of the tire, as well as cause less than optimal fuel economy. Have you ever seen those stickers on the inside frame of your driver side door? Those stickers are actually really informative!
The right amount of inflation for each tire on your car can be found there. (It can also be found in the vehicle owner’s manual.) Don’t forget to check the spare tire, as well! You never know when you’ll need to use it.
2. Rotate tires every 5,000-8,000 miles, which is about every other oil change. This will keep the wear of the tires equal and can extend the life of the tire resulting in money left in your wallet.
3. Have a professional periodically check your alignment, as misalignment of wheels in the front or rear can cause uneven and rapid tread-wear, which only decreases the life of the tire.
4. Test the tread of your tire monthly, as well. The tire tread gauge seen here is the best tool to use for this test. If the tread is worn down to 2/32nds it is time to get a new tire.
Unfortunately, not everyone has a tire tread gauge. Not to worry! A simple test with a penny can also be used! All you have to do is place a penny upside down into a tread groove. If part of Lincoln’s head is covered by the tread, you’re driving with the proper amount of tread. If you can see all of his head, you should buy a new tire. Thankfully, Cooper Tire has made this tread check even easier with the Wear Square™, which is a visual indicator that is part of the tread design and allows drivers to quickly assess the approximate tread life remaining on their tires.
As the tire wears, the Wear Square transitions among five stages, beginning with a full square design on new tires and ending with an exclamation mark when the tread reaches 2/32s of an inch, which indicates that it is time to replace the tire.
5. Obviously, when the time comes to replace tires, it’s best to replace all four at the same time. We all know that is not always financially feasible for everyone. If you can only replace two tires at a time, make sure to place the newest tires on the back! I had never heard of this concept but after driving these BMW’s with worn tires on the front and worn tires on the back, it became so clear to me!
I had the opportunity to get behind the wheel and do a comparison test while driving two different Tahoes with a set of competitor’s tires and Cooper Tire’s newest tire, the Discoverer SRX. I was amazed at how well the Discoverer SRXs gripped the road during every turn. It left me more confident in the driver seat and of course that only made me feel safer.
Protect your child by clicking below, get a no-cost McGruff Safety Kit!