Tire safety is something that shouldn't be taken for granted if you're one of the millions of Americans that take to the roads everyday. As the seasons change, it's a good time to take stock of how your vehicle and its tires are holding up before getting into rough driving weather this winter.
Tires Help Determine Vehicle Safety
There's a slogan that a major tire company had at one point: "Because so much is riding on your tires." It was advertising gold, and this is in large part because it's true. A lot is riding on your tires, and the condition of them can directly impact how safe you and your passengers are every time you get behind the wheel.
Tires mean the ability to go forward, but also your ability to do so safely. This means stopping safely, and it has just as much to do with your tires as it does your brakes.
When you brake, the motion on the wheels is halted or slowed, but it's the rubber of your tires that grips the road. Without enough tread, they can't hold their ground – literally – which often results in skidding or fishtailing.
Checking Your Tire Health
Maintaining proper tread depth on your tires is one way to make sure that you're as safe as possible when you take to the roads. There are a few common steps and recommendations to follow for keeping your tires in good shape, so they can take care of you.
Tire experts recommend checking your tread regularly. The old adage for checking your tires is to do a "penny test" to examine your tire tread depth. This method involves you placing a penny, Abe Lincoln's head facing the ground, between your tire treads. If you can see his whole head, it's time to replace your tires.
More recently, though, experts have been encouraging consumers to change this testing method to using a quarter. The 25-cent piece, being larger, shows you George Washington's head when there's 4/32 of an inch of tread left on your tires, as opposed to the 2/32 of an inch allowed by a penny.
Another key to tire health is checking the air pressure at least once a month. Small things like daily driving and outdoor temperature can affect the air pressure in your tires, so it's important to check them often.
Maintaining Proper Tires
Keeping your tires in good condition means making sure that they're properly inflated, and that they're not too worn to drive on.
To properly inflate your tires, you should rely on the manufacturer's recommended tire pressure, which is typically found on a sticker inside the driver's side door frame. If your car is missing a sticker, check with your owner's manual rather than relying on the numbers printed on tire walls – these show the maximum pressure a tire can handle, but isn't usually recommended for operating.
To help maintain proper tread, it's a good idea to have your tires rotated around every six months. This is something you could do yourself, but it's best to let the experts at a tire shop or repair garage take care of the task. They have the tools to do this easily, and can ensure proper balancing and inflation, which may not be so easy on your own.
Remember, it can be dangerous as soon as your tires start to lose tread, so take proper care of them. After all, there's so much riding on them!
Is it Time to Kick Some Tires?
If it isn't your tires that are causing you problems staying on the road, but your vehicle itself, it may be time to start the search for a new-to-you car that can get you safely from point A to point B. Sometimes, getting the vehicle you need is easier said than done if you have poor credit.
No need to worry about your credit score standing in the way if you work with the right kind of auto lender for your situation, though. In many cases, this means financing through a subprime lender. They have the resources to approve people for a car loan even if they're struggling with low or no credit.
The process is easy to get started, right here with us at Auto Credit Express. We've cultivated a nationwide network of special finance dealerships that are signed up with the lenders you need. Fill out our fast, free auto loan request form, and we'll begin the process of matching you to a local dealer.