Checking the “health” of your tires should be a natural gesture, just like wearing a seat belt as soon as you get in the car. And yet, most drivers ignore the conditions of their tires, forgetting that they are the only element of contact between the road and the vehicle, and therefore essential for our safety.
To remind motorists of this, every year the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association (USTMA) organizes a campaign to raise awareness and educate consumers about proper tire care and safety. This year’s theme and hashtag, #Know Your Roll, will run through Memorial Day, which is celebrated on May 27th.
USTMA is also taking aim at a less well understood risk to consumers – unsafe used tires. Once a tire has been mounted on a rim and installed on a vehicle, it’s considered a used tire. While new tires must meet stringent federal safety standards to be sold in the U.S., worn tires can be resold as used with virtually no restrictions in most states. This is a potential danger that is sometimes underestimated.
Pirelli is proud to be part of this USTMA initiative again this year, highlighting the importance of tire safety by asking people to really focus on the importance of keeping their tires in good condition.
So, let’s review some very simple but essential steps to take into account every time we hit the road:
• Underinflation can lead to tire failure. Check inflation pressure at least once a month and before long road trips.
• Tire inflation pressure changes depending on the weather. Pressure can increase in warm weather and decrease in cool weather – 1-2 pounds for every 10 degrees of temperature change.
• Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS) can help drivers detect loss of inflation pressure. Federal regulations require TPMS to warn drivers when tires are 25% under inflated. For many vehicles, this is too late to prevent damage to your tires and should not replace checking your tires monthly.
• Misalignment of wheels in the front or rear can cause uneven and rapid treadwear and should be corrected by a tire dealer. Have your alignment checked periodically as specified by the vehicle owner’s manual or whenever you have an indication of trouble such as “pulling”. Also have your tire balance checked periodically.
• Always refer to your vehicle owner’s manual for rotation recommendations. If no rotation period is specified, tires should be rotated approximately every 5,000 – 8,000 miles.
• Tires must be replaced when the treat is worn down to 2/32 of an inch. Traction, particularly in bad weather, and resistance to hydroplaning is reduced as tires wear. An easy test: 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.