Of course you want to know how to maintain proper inflation, and how to handle a flat — but tire safety, which is ultimately about your safety, and making your car and tires last — is about more than that. Here are three tire tips to keep you rolling.
1. Check tread for safety
- When your tires have worn down to 1.5 millimetre (1/16 inch) of remaining tire depth they need to be replaced.
- Tires sold in North America are required to have “wear bars” moulded into them to make it easy to see when tire replacement is legally required.
- However, if you’ll be driving in the rain, you should change your tires when there is three millimetres (1/8 inch) of tread left.
- Otherwise, water may not escape from under your tires fast enough and you risk hydroplaning — a dangerous situation in which your car loses traction and literally floats on the water.
- If you drive in snow, you’ll need at least five millimetres (3/16 inch) of tread to get adequate traction.
- Make sure you have enough tread for safe winter driving, as well as driving in rain, depending on your needs.
2. Rotate your tires
- Rotating your tires helps to distribute tire wear evenly and ensures that you’ll get the maximum road life out of them.
- The first rotation is especially important. Your owner’s manual should specify both rotation period and pattern.
- If not, rotate your tires every 9,700 to 12,000 kilometres (6,000 to 7,500 miles) — your tire dealer should know the correct pattern of tire rotation.
3. Buy used tires
- If you own a car that you plan to drive only for another year, the last thing you want to do is to buy a new set of tires. If it’s time to replace those tires though, it’s really time.
- Rather than hesitate, buy a set of used tires. Call local tire dealers to see what’s available.
- You’ll be surprised by how much wear is left in tires that are turned in by image-conscious car owners. Have your tire size handy.