Maintaining your tires is one of the most important things you can do for your car and for your safety. While tire maintenance is important at all times, it is crucial both before and after long road trips. Road trips involve prolonged periods on highways, allowing your tires to remain at high temperatures for much longer than during everyday use. You may also be traveling across more rough and uneven surfaces which can take their toll on tires that are already showing signs of wear. These tips will help you to make sure that your tires are in good shape before you leave and that they are still in good shape when you return.
The Penny Test
One of the most vital things you can do before leaving on your trip is to give each of your tires the penny test. This simple test will measure the amount of tread life remaining on each tire. To perform it, place a penny upside into the grooves on your tire. If Lincoln's head is fully exposed, then your tires have less than the minimum depth required for safety. In this case, have your tires replaced before you go on your trip. Tires with low tread depth can be hazardous in wet or snowy conditions.
It's also a good idea to test a few different locations on each tire. If the inner or outer edges of the tire appear to be more worn, then it may indicate a suspension or alignment issue. While this is likely less dangerous than a bald tire, you should still have your suspension inspected before leaving for your trip.
Check Your Tire Pressure—Then Check It Again
Inflate your tires to the proper pressure a few weeks before leaving on your trip. A few days before it's time to leave, check and inflate them as necessary again. If you notice a significant loss of pressure between over this period, then your tires may have a small puncture that is causing them to lose air. Any sort of tire damage can be a dangerous condition for long trips, so taking your car to a reputable shop to have its tires evaluated and repaired is your best option.
Have Your Tires Rotated
Regular tire rotation is crucial to make sure that all four of your car's tires wear evenly. Uneven tire wear can impact your car's handling and even lead to dangerously poor grip. Tires should be rotated about twice per year, so if you haven't had this maintenance performed recently then now is the perfect time to take care of it. In fact, rotating your tires before a trip is often a particularly great idea since any problems that are causing one tire to wear more than the others will be exacerbated by hundreds or thousands of miles of driving.
Do It All Again When You Get Back
Ensuring the safety of your tires before you leave for your trip is essential, but checking them again when you get home is just as vital. While it isn't necessary to have your tires rotated a second time, it is a good idea to check their tread depth and pressure. Damage can quickly occur while on the road, so taking the time to perform these simple steps will ensure that your car is just as safe now as it was when you left. Learn more about the process by contacting services like King George Truck & Tire Center.