Tire Safety is my mantra and I'm always looking for ways to encourage people to add this important idea into their daily lives.
was in a parking lot at a local shopping center when
another car pulled in and parked next to me. When I looked at the way
the driver had parked, an idea to promote my pet topic of tire
awareness popped into my mind and I took the photo you see to the right.
The thing that I found so special about this, is the way the driver had
left the wheels turned instead of parking with them straight.
This is an excellent way to quickly do a visual check of your tires.
If you get into the habit of parking with your wheels turned and
make a point of having a quick look at both your front tires, -- make a
habit of it -- you can take big step to making tire safety a part of
your daily life.
Once you get used to it, a visual inspection of your tires won't take
more than about 10 seconds and in that quick glance you can tell if
there are any major safety issues at stake with those tires.
If you glance at the tires in the above photo, you can tell immediately
that they are in fairly decent shape and that the air pressure is
probably within a reasonable variation of the recommended amount.
I got out of my car and looked for another car with the wheels
turned. You can see that these tires seem to be in excellent
shape because the tread grooves have a crisp shape and are deep and the
same depth across the whole width of the tire. Also the air
pressure seems to be adequate.
This is not rocket-science were're dealing with here folks and I
realize that we're just looking at the front tires but even if you look
only at the front tires instead of not looking at any of them, you are
already being much more safety conscious than you were before.
Later, or at any point you wish, you can start paying attention to the
rear tires too, but since the front wheels are the ones that you use to
control the direction of your vehicle, I think that these are a bit
more important to inspect since getting a blow out on a front tire is
more dangerous and difficult to control than one which happens in the
Finally I ran across a vehicle with a potential problem.
Can you spot the problem? Compare the photo at the right with the
earlier photos. Can you see the difference in the tread on the
outside edge of the tire (left side). Can you see that the
grooves in the tread in this area are almost gone, but further into the
tire they are deeper?
This is a sign of un-even tread wear, and whenever you see something
like this you need to see if there may be something wrong with
your veichle which is causing it. Like most mechanical problems,
if you catch them and have them fixed early you can often avoid serious
damages and expense, but if you don't you may regret it.
In this case, I'd think that this car might need to have the wheels
aligned, or maybe they need to increase the air pressure in this tire a
wee bit. From the photo you can't see if the inside edge of the
tire is worn the same way as the outside edge. If it is, then the
likely cause is low pressure, but if only the outside edge is worn more
than the rest of the tire, the cause is usually alignment.
The important thing about tire safety is not to become an expert in
diagnosing car problems, but simply becomming aware of what to look for
so that you can detect when things aren't working the way they should
and then look for someone to take care of it for you.
Of course a quick visual inspection isn't the same as a complete
tire inspection, but it is better than nothing. If you've done
nothing before, you're better off doing this that you were. See Tire Safety Check for more details on what a complete safety check should include.
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