6 Point Safety Check

Keeping tires safe helps the environment too

TIRE GUY Sharniec has been a good friend of mine since high school and rings every year to wish me happy birthday. Since high school, she has had the date mixed up and rings me a month and one day early. Sharniec is the director of a busy art gallery and works long hours. She is very environmentally conscious- so she either walks of takes public transport to reduce her carbon footprint.

Sharniec has a car for one reason. Once a week, or month, or whenever she feels boxed in or stressed she jumps in her car and drives until she feels free. She loads up the trunk with luggage then drives. She's been known to travel as far as Mexico! Sharniec then spends her time away painting or taking photos until she is ready to return: usually a few days later.

Sharniec asked me about safety checks before driving her car. Due to the random nature of her drives and her propensity to leave very early or late in the day, it's difficult for her to rely on mechanics or dealers for advice. These simple safety checks help her feel safe; they will save you money and keep you safe, too.

Safety Check #1.

Depth of tread. It's easy to measure the tread on your tires. More tread equals better grip and safer driving. Replace bald or worn tires. See more about tread.

Safety Check #2.

Check the sidewalls for cuts and gouges: It is possible to repair a small puncture but it depends on the size and location of the damage. Don't risk a sudden failure at high speed.

Safety Check #3.

Check tire pressure when the tires are cold. The pressure inside your tires changes as you drive. Soft tires use more fuel, hurting your pocket and the environment. Avoid over-inflating as it promotes uneven wear patterns. See more about tire wear problems and tire pressure

Safety Check #4.

Avoid potholes and curbs. Your tires take all the impact. You will save money in the long run on things like wheel alignments.

Safety Check #5.

Does the steering wheel vibrate when you drive? Your wheels may need to be balanced. Unbalanced wheels impair steering, and increase wear on your vehicle's suspension system.

Safety Check #6.

Loading weight. Excessive or incorrect loading could be more than your tires can bear. Too much weight can cause the tire to come off the rim when cornering, putting you and your passengers at risk. Do not put passenger car tires on trucks either: they are not made to take the weight.

Ask your preferred tire dealer to inspect your tires at least twice a year. Likely there'll be no charge for this service, but it doesn't hurt to ask first.

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