Spring is here, and that means more miles on your tires. With the warmer weather, longer road trips, and interesting back roads, your tires are working hard for you. Due to the huge importance of tire safety, the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) declared May 24th – 30th as National Tire Safety Week. Think of it as Spring Break for your tires.
The RMA planned this nationwide event as part of its ongoing “Be Tire Smart – Play Your PART” program. This awareness campaign reminds everyone to be aware that tires are part of a vehicle’s regular maintenance and wear items. Tires are critically important – as the only part of the vehicle in contact with the ground- and need as much attention as breaks or oil changes.
The Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Commission recently reported that US drivers log roughly 3 trillion miles each year. That’s a lot of miles, and a whole lot of tires on all those vehicles. While the tire industry is one of the best at recycling (approximately 96% of used tires are recycled or re-purposed, according to RMA), proper tire care can save you money and reduce waste.
Today’s tires are high tech, with higher performance and greater durability than only a few years ago, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, but you can still do your part to help them last longer. Check monthly to confirm tire pressure is at the proper inflation level, as poorly inflated tires will lower your gas mileage. RMA estimates only 15% of drivers properly check and adjust their tire pressure. Check for any foreign objects, such as nails, puncturing the tread. Your tire might perform fine now, but odds are a slow leak is forming. Also check the tread depth, looking for signs of excessive wear, and any cracks, exposed cords, or unusual wear. If you have any of those, it is time for new tires. Check your maintenance logs to see if it’s time for a tire rotation. It may seem overly simple, but this service is necessary for a long service life. Check your vehicle manual for rotation guidelines, but in general, if it’s been more than about 5,000 miles, it’s time to rotate.
Remember that a tire’s service life is not determined by age, or even mileage. Many factors go into modern tire design and construction, building you a quality tire that should last several thousand miles. However, each user has a different vehicle, driving style, and maintenance routine. Other factors like weather, road conditions, high loads or frequent towing, all play a part in determining the life of the tire. Even if you have an ultra-low mileage exotic or classic, you should replace the tires before they see a decade of life.
Remember to “Be Tire Smart – Play Your PART” this May. Just a small amount of time could mean longer tire life, serious money savings, and a much safer drive.