Proper inflation is the single most important factor in tire care. The inflation pressure imprinted on the sidewall of the tire is the maximum operating pressure determined by the tire manufacturer. It is not necessarily the correct inflation for your vehicle’s tires.
You should always use the inflation recommended by the vehicle manufacturer. This information can be found in the owner’s manual and often on a label located in the vehicle’s doorjamb, inside the fuel hatch, or on the glove compartment door.
- We recommend checking air pressure once a month and before long trips.
- Always check the pressure when the tires are “cold” — at least three hours after the vehicle has been stopped and before it has been driven one mile. It’s best to inflate your tires in the morning.
- Don’t forget to check the spare tire.
- Replace valves when you buy new tires.
- Buy good quality valve caps that can contain the inflation air, should the core of the valve fail for any reason.
- Purchase a good pressure gauge. Public gauges at the gas station are often abused and unreliable.
Regular rotation extends the life of your tires, saving you time and money in the long run. Each tire and wheel is removed from your vehicle and moved to a different position. This ensures that all of the tires wear evenly and last longer. If no period is specified in your owner’s manual, the tires should be rotated every 6,000-8,000 miles.
Alignment generally refers to the adjustment of a vehicle’s front and rear suspension parts. Proper alignment ensures that your vehicle handles correctly and will help increase the life and performance of your tires. The alignment of your vehicle can be knocked out of adjustment from daily impacts such as potholes and railroad crossings, or by more severe accidents. You should have the alignment checked if:
- You know you have hit something.
- You see a wear pattern developing on the shoulders of the tires.
- Balancing means compensating for both the weight of the tire and wheel after the tire is mounted. A wheel is out of balance when one area is heavier or lighter than the rest. This can cause irregular treadwear and vibration, and increase the stress on the front-end parts, which may cause them to wear prematurely.
You should have your wheels balanced whenever a tire is replaced, when a balance weight is moved or removed, and whenever you purchase new tires. Of course, at the first sign of vibration or irregular treadwear, your car should be thoroughly checked for wheel balance and alignment, and for worn or broken mechanical parts.