How To Inspect a Tire
Once every month, or before you embark upon long road trips, check your tires for wear and damage problems. One easy way to check for wear is by using the penny test. All you have to do is grab an Abraham Lincoln penny and follow 3 easy steps:
- Take a penny and hold Abe’s body between your thumb and forefinger.
- Select a point on your tire where tread appears the lowest and place Lincoln’s head into one of the grooves.
- If any part of Abe Lincoln’s head is covered by the tread, you’re driving with the legal and safe amount of tread. If your tread gets below that (approximately 2/32 of an inch), your car’s ability to grip the road in adverse conditions is greatly reduced.
How to Check Tire Pressure
Tires have been known to lose up to 1psi (pounds per square inch) every month, so check all tires, including your spare, once a month (or before a long trip). It’s easy. Here’s how:
Purchase a trusted tire pressure gauge.
Check your tires “cold” – before you’ve driven or at least three hours after you’ve driven.
- Insert tire pressure gauge into the valve stem on your tire. The gauge should begin reading the air pressure immediately. Refer to your air pressure gauge owners manual for correct usage instructions. If using a “pencil” style tire gauge, the gauge will “pop” out and show a measured number. When you hear a “pssst” sound, that’s air escaping the tire. The escaping air shouldn’t affect pressure substantially, unless you hold down the air pressure gauge too long.
- Compare the measured psi to the psi found on the sticker inside the driver’s door of your vehicle or in owner’s manual. DO NOT compare to the psi on your tire’s sidewall.
- If your psi is above the number, let air out until it matches. If below, add air. Low pressure can lead to tire damage.
Mixing in new tires with worn tires
When replacing two new tires instead of four, be sure that your new tires are the same size and tire type as your current tires, and that your dealer always installs the new tires on the rear axle of your vehicle. For continued optimized vehicle performance, it is recommended that all tires be replaced at the same time with identical MSPN.
Deeper tread tires on the rear axle provide better handling, wet grip, and evacuate water, thereby helping to avoid over steer and loss of vehicle stability on wet surfaces. Deeper tread tires on the front axle can improve wet straight line braking and stopping distance. If only two tires are being replaced, generally recommends they be installed on the rear axle in the absence of a tire service professional’s recommendation or consumer’s preference to the contrary.
Replacing a single tire on a vehicle can have an adverse effect on suspension systems, gear ratios, transmissions, and tire tread wear. If a single tire replacement is unavoidable, it is recommended that the single new tire be paired with the deepest tread tire from the vehicle (including the full size spare) and both be placed as a pair.
Fact: Regular rotation helps extend the life of your tires and improve performance. So if you like safety and saving money regular rotation is important for vehicles with dual rear wheels as well.
During rotation, each tire and wheel is removed from your vehicle and moved to a different position to ensure that all tires wear evenly and last longer. Tires should be rotated every six months or 6,000 to 8,000 miles.