I just spent $300 on two front tires. We don’t really drive that much but it seems like we quickly wear out our tires. The reason that we wear them out so quickly is that we don’t do a very good job of maintaining them.
I recently received a car maintenance guide, How to Make Your Car Last Forever, from the folks at Motorbooks.com.
In it I found (among lots of other great car care tips) 5 car tire care tips for properly maintaining your tires. I’m sharing them as a good reminder to myself and to anyone else looking to make their tires go a bit farther.
1. Check and Adjust Wheel Alignment
The direction your tires track down the road are dependent on the alignment of the two axles (or 4 wheels if you have independent suspension). So, you need to make sure that those two axles are parallel.
If they aren’t, then they are working against each other and creating odd wear on the tires. It is recommended that you have this done every 12,000 miles or year. I was just told this can cost between $50 and $150.
2. Maintain Proper Air Pressure
Improper air pressure in your tires will cause wear. If you don’t have enough pressure, the tire bows in, making the outside of the tires wear. And vice versa if the tires are over-inflated. Luckily, this isn’t an expensive piece of maintenance.
You can easily keep your own tires properly inflated by checking them each time you put fuel in your vehicle. I invested $100 in a small air compressor for my garage. I don’t use it nearly enough, but it could easily help me maintain my proper air pressure.
3. Rotate and Re-balance Tires
This is a simple service that most auto shops will do for free if you purchased tires from them. Tires are made of rubber and they naturally wear out. Since your tires can never be perfectly balanced, your tires may wear in a less-than-uniform pattern.
Rotating your tires (moving them to a different axle) will increase the chances that your tires wear more evenly. The recommendation is to rotate and re-balance every 6,000 miles or six months. Here’s a how to video for rotating your tires yourself:
4. Check and Replace Suspension and Steering Components
This is something that your mechanic should be looking for when they are aligning the wheels. Worn parts can affect your ability to properly align the car.
5. Maintain Good Shocks and Struts
If you keep fresh shocks and struts in your car, your tires will last longer. Some recommend replacing shocks and struts every 50,000 miles. But it really depends on your vehicle and driving conditions.
If and when you have to go out and buy new tires, I recommend Discount Tire. If you are lucky enough to have one of these in your area, then I see no reason not to use them. They always fix my tires for free if I get a nail in the tread (which seems to happen once a year).
And they always price match their tires. They use Google to find the cheapest price on the tires you are buying and adjust their price right there in front of you. Great company.
Are tires a big expense for you? What do you do to maintain them better? And where do you buy your tires?
Photo by Dodge Challenger1