Part II of the Auto Savings Series: Click here if you missed the beginning.
Don’t you dare wait for a blow out to change your tires. They are your first line of defense against the road. Blowouts are expensive and dangerous.
Would you rather buy new tires or replace a rolled car after a blowout? How about a dozen ways for you to know when to replace those tires?
1. Measure the tread.
Is there less than 7/32 of an inch of tread on any part the tire? When you place a penny in the tread, it should should reach past Lincoln’s eyebrow. Test both inside and outside the tread.
2. Drove too far?
Have you exceeded the mileage on the tire rating? Tires are rated for a maximum number of miles. Replace tires 1,000 miles of the rated mileage.
Do you hear a rhythmic thump while driving? This thump is a tire out of round. Simply put: It has a hernia. When steel belting is severed inside the tire, the inner rubber layer puts pressure on the tread from inside.
Do you have a leak? If your tire pressure is low within a week, have the tire checked. Punctures within 1 inch (25 mm) of the edge should never be repaired, since they can cause tire exposion during a blowout. Side wall punctures cannot be repaired.
5. Not so fixed?
After the fixative tire inflater, is your tire low (or flat) again in a week? If you used an inflating product, such as Fix-a-Flat or Re-Air, and it is low again, replace the tire. It must not be patched. The fixative chemicals keep the patch from bonding properly.
Note: Americans, you will pay a fine for this tire. After the fixative inflater, a tire cannot be recycled by traditional methods.
Have you notices a wobbling in the steering? This is another red flag you might have a tire out of round.
7. Musical Interlude?
Do you hear a whining, almost whistling, sound? Tires whistle when too much tire surface is touching the pavement. The side wall whining because it is rubbing the pavement. Unusually worn side walls (like the whistler) can blow out at high speeds (over 40 mph).
8. When did that happen?
Did you drive more than half a mile on a flat? The inside tire wall is damaged, as well as the exterior of the side wall. It is unsafe to operate the vehicle.
9. It’s only a flesh wound!
Are there nicks, cuts or wear on the side wall? If the side wall is damaged in any way, replace the tire. Its reinforcement is compromised.
10. Little here, little there…
Do you have uneven tread wear? If the inside or outside of your tire tread is worn more than the rest, the safest bet is to replace it. If the worn tread is already less than 7/32 of an inch deep, replace it today.
11. I’m cracked.
Is there a web of cracks in your tread or side wall? You have dry rot. Do not drive on or attempt to fill this tire with air. The rotten rubber will explode into pieces under pressure.
12. Round and round and round and round…Dizzy.
Have you rotated your tires 4 times? No more miles, replace immediately. After the fourth rotation, the tires have reached the end of their life cycle, even if the rating says they have more miles.
13. Baker’s Dozen
Do you see cracks around the tire stem? Even if you can find someone to replace the stem, you are going to have the flat back in no time. Replace the tire.
Tires are the only things keeping you on the road. Save money by keeping them at the right pressure and replacing them when they need it.
NEXT: Break me in gently…
What was your last tire emergency?
(c) Ann Marie Dwyer 2011
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