For many, the summer months are driving season. When preparing your vehicle for the summer, it is important to inspect the tires. The heat of summer can cause an already worn tire to fail. Visually inspect tires for cracks, bubbles, and worn out tread. If any of these things are found, replace the tire.
Tire pressure usually lowers itself in winter and raises itself in the summer. So what is a driver to do when the seasons change? Here are a few tire safety tips designed to help drivers make sure that they are ready for safe, enjoyable road trips this summer.
- Pressure – It is important to check tires frequently, at least once a month and before long trips, and keep them at the recommended levels. There is a sticker located inside the driver’s door, in the glove box, or on the inside of the fuel door stating the proper tire pressure. If tires are under or over-inflated, it can cause stress and irregular wear on the tire resulting in tire failure, loss of vehicle control or an accident. Keeping the recommended tire pressure is not only for safety reasons, but it will also extend the life of the tires and save fuel. Under inflated tires result in unnecessary tire stress, irregular wear, loss of vehicle control, and accidents. A tire can lose up to half its pressure and never appear flat. Always check the tire pressure when tires are cold – meaning they are not hot from driving. Never reduce the tire pressure when tires are hot. It is normal for pressure to build up as a result of driving.
- Alignment – A bad jolt from hitting a curb or pothole can throw your front end out of alignment and damage your tires. Have the alignment checked periodically. If the vehicle is not properly aligned, the tires will wear unevenly and may cause handling problems. Tires should be checked for balance, as well. Unbalanced tires may result in irregular wear or vibrations.
- Rotation – Regularly rotating your vehicle’s tires will help you achieve more uniform wear. Unless your vehicle’s owners manual has a specific recommendation, the guideline for tire rotation is approximately every 5,000 miles.
- Tread – Excessive tire wear can reduce the ability of tread to grip the road in adverse conditions. It can also reduce steering and break response. Worn tread can cause the tire to rupture. Visually check your tires for uneven wear, looking for high and low areas or unusually smooth areas. Also check for signs of damage. A common test is to insert a penny into the tread. If part of Lincoln’s head is covered by the tread, the tire has a legal amount of tread. If all of his head can be seen, it is time to replace the tire.
As tires age, they begin to dry out and become potentially dangerous. The tires may look fine, but rubber degrades over time. When traveling at highway speeds, the tread could peel off leading to loss of control. The summer time heat will wear a tire faster, increasing the chance of a flat or blow out. Make sure to inspect your tires carefully, especially if you have teen drivers. There inexperience behind the wheel can be even more dangerous if a tire fails while they are driving. Take 15 minutes out of your afternoon to help protect you and your loved ones for a lifetime.
For more information on tire safety, visit the Rubber Manufacturers Association website for a printable brochure.
Mark Bello has thirty-three years experience as a trial lawyer and twelve years as an underwriter and situational analyst in the lawsuit funding industry. He is the owner and founder of Lawsuit Financial Corporation which helps provide cash flow solutions and consulting when necessities of life funding is needed during litigation. Bello is a Justice Pac member of the American Association for Justice, Sustaining and Justice Pac member of the Michigan Association for Justice, Business Associate of the Florida, Tennessee, and Colorado Associations for Justice, a member of the American Bar Association, the State Bar of Michigan and the Injury Board.
Attorney, certified civil mediator, and award-winning author of the Zachary Blake Betrayal Series. Mark Bello is also a member of the State Bar of Michigan, a sustaining member of the Michigan Association for Justice, and a member of the American Association for Justice.