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Get a Grip: Tire Safety

Stay Safe & Save Money - How Your Tires Affect Your Vehicle’s Performance

Image of Tire on the Road

According to the NHTSA, about 200 people die on the road every year as the result of tire-related crashes. Poor tire maintenance —such as not having enough air in your tires or failing to rotate your tires — can lead to a flat tire, blowout, or the tread coming off your tire. 

Properly inflating your tires is not only safer, it can also save you as much as 11 cents per gallon on fuel.  Studies show that only 19 percent of consumers inflate their tires to the ideal amount, this means four out of five consumers are wasting money because of under-inflated tires!

Proper rotation, balance and alignment can help your tires last longer, which will in turn save you even more money. In fact, properly inflated tires can extend the average life of a tire by 4,700 miles, according to the NHTSA.

Five tire maintenance tips for safety and savings

Your tires’ proper tire inflation pressure—measured in both kilopascals (kPA) and pounds per square inch (PSI or psi)—can be found on the Tire and Loading Information Label on the driver’s side door edge or in your owner’s manual. 

  1. Keep a tire pressure gauge in your vehicle. A tire can suddenly lose pressure if you drive over a pothole or bump into a curb when you park.
  2. Newer vehicles have Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems, but these only activate a warning when a tire is significantly under-inflated. You should still conduct a monthly tire pressure check to ensure your tires are always properly inflated.
  3. Proper tire pressure is the most important part of maintaining your tires. It affects safety, their durability, and your fuel consumption.
  4. Check the pressure of all tires, including your spare, at least once a month when the tires are “cold,” meaning that the car hasn’t be driven for at least three hours.

Monitoring tire tread

Tire tread provides the gripping action and traction that prevents your car or truck from slipping and sliding, especially when the road is icy or wet. Tires are not safe and should be replaced when the tread is worn down to 2/32 of an inch.

  • Check your tire’s tread at least once a month when you’re checking their pressure.
  • Tires have built-in “treadwear indicators,” which are raised sections that run in between the tire’s tread. When the tread is worn down so that it’s level with the tread indicator, it’s time to replace your tires.
  • You can also check your tread by placing a penny in the tread with Lincoln’s head upside down and facing you. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, replace your tires.