Automobile Care - Tire and Wheel Alignment

Many of us have experienced the shock of driving into a deep pothole that was difficult to see or safely avoid. A significant jolt from hitting a large pothole or curb can throw your wheels out of alignment and damage your tires over time. If your car’s suspension system is out of alignment, your tires will wear unevenly and you may experience handling problems. Some common symptoms of poor wheel alignment are uneven tire tread wear, pulling to one side, a vibrating steering wheel at higher speeds or an off-center steering wheel. Having your wheels aligned regularly will reduce tire wear, increase fuel mileage and improve the vehicle’s handling. <>

Safe driving in all conditions means preventive care and maintenance of your vehicle, especially tire care. Properly maintained tires improve the steering, stopping, traction, and load-carrying capability of your vehicle.

  • All tires have “treads” or “wear bars” which are small, raised bars of rubber in the groves that indicate when tire are worn out. When the tread is worn down to 1/16 of an inch, tires should be replaced.
  • Regularly rotating your vehicle tires will help achieve more uniform wear. Each tire supports a different amount of weight; the unequal weight distribution can cause your tire to wear at different rates. The guidelines for tire rotation are approximately every 6,000 miles or consult your vehicle’s owners manual for specific recommendations.
  • Use a tire gauge to check tire pressure (including the spare) at least once a month and before long trips. Underinflation of tires can result in unnecessary tire stress, irregular wear, loss of control and accidents. When temperature changes occur, tire inflation pressure also changes, make sure tires are cool when checking air pressure.
  • At least once a month, visually inspect your tires for signs of damage (uneven wear, looking for high and low areas or unusually smooth areas) and inspect the sidewall for cracking, cuts, bruises and other signs of damage or excessive wear.

    Preventive maintenance and care will not only save you time and money in premature repairs, but may also help reduce your automobile gas expenditures. According the U.S. Department of Energy, you may save up to 3 percent with proper tire inflation and wheel alignment.

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