Aside from your home, you will likely spend the most amount of your income on transportation. If you own a car, then you are well aware of all the costs that go along with it. Leasing or financing comes with a monthly payment. Add to that insurance, fuel, regular maintenance, cleaning, and inevitable repairs. Cars can take up a big chunk of your budget, especially when accidents happen or parts break down. Tires are a necessary expense that can be costly, especially if you have a large car, truck or SUV. But you can save money with proper tire maintenance.
Proper tire maintenance can prolong the life of your tires and keep you safe.
- Check your tire pressure monthly. Under or over-inflated tires will wear out quicker and decrease your car’s fuel efficiency. You can purchase an inexpensive tire gauge, or most air pumps will have one built in. Most gas stations have an air pump, some are even free. Not sure how much air you need? Look in your driver’s side doorjamb. You will see a sticker that tells you the proper air level.
- Check the tread depth. A worn down tire can decrease your grip on the pavement, and make driving in wet conditions even more dangerous. A tire that is below a certain tread level will also fail your state inspection. Stay ahead of that surprise by checking your tread level. You can purchase a tread gauge or do the penny test… Take a penny, and stick it upside down in the most worn out tread channel. If Abe Lincoln’s head is covered at all, then the tread is deep enough. If not, then the tire needs replacement.
- Rotate your tires. On most cars, front tires will wear out quicker than the ones on the rear. Also, the edges of tires will wear out quicker than the inside. This is why you need to rotate. Moving the tires around will lead to even wear, and longer overall life of the tire. Most manufacturers recommend rotating every 6,000 – 8,000 miles. Make sure you rotate in the recommended pattern for your car.
- Align your tires. If you have hit some severe bumps or potholes or if you have just replaced any tires, you may need an alignment. Misaligned tires can impact your steering, causing the car to pull in either direction. It will also cause uneven wear on the tires.
These are very simple maintenance measures that can keep you safe on the road and keep some money in your pocket. There is no way to make any tire last forever, but taking care of the ones you have means you can put off that expense, giving you more time to save.