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A car’s ability to transform power generated by the engine into forward motion is anchored with a tire’s ability to grip the road. The rubber composition while in good condition establishes great friction with other solid surfaces, without this grip, wheels would slip and spin, similar to driving in cold or adverse weather conditions. To further enhance a tire’s grip, the overall structure is engineered with divets carved into the rubber that displace debris and water to help the tire make direct contact with the pavement. As tires age, the tire is less effective at establishing traction with a roadway, which can be problematic. The Service Department at Pearson Honda (Midlothian, VA) suggests these signs to watch for to know when it’s time to swap in new tires.

Check the Tread Depth

Each tire tread is engineered with specific dimensions to be the most effective displacement device of debris and precipitation. The deeper the treads, the more optimally they work and as such it is important to keep an eye on the tread depth as the rubber gets worn down over time. Fortunately, checking the tread depth is easy and inexpensive, only requiring a penny. Take a penny with Abe Lincoln’s side facing portrait, and stick the penny into the tire tread with the head going towards the tire’s center. If the top of Abe’s head is fully visible, the treads are too shallow and it is necessary to get new tires. If part of the head isn’t visible then you are good to go, and maybe consider consulting a service technician if the treads are getting low.

Maintain Good Tire Pressure

The air within a tire acts as a firm cushion for the car that expands and compresses based on outside forces and temperature. The base tire pressure you establish causes the tire to assume a form that allows a tire to work optimally. When a tire is under-inflated with a lower pressure, the rubber bends and is strained increasing wear and tear on the tire. Checking the pressure is easy if you buy your own manual gauge and can extend the lifetime of your tire; view your owner’s manual to check what the optimal tire pressure is to be. Performing checks when the temperature and/or climate changes, which can affect how compressed the air within the tire is. If you need to frequently refill a specific tire multiple times over a few weeks the tire might have a leak or bigger problem with the tire and should be looked at by a service technician.

Watch for Bulges, Cracks, and Valves

A tire is a pressurized system of air, made of firm and supple rubber that helps contain a large amount of gas. The air is constantly pushing outwards, trying to escape the rubber in any way it can; if the rubber wears away with a crack that goes fully through the rubber, the air will hiss out and escape. The overall strength of the rubber can reduce, losing its shape with a small pocket of air that pushes out a bulge in the weaker portion of rubber. The valve where air is inserted into the tire can wear away or break, causing air to leak out. These different impurities in the rubber’s structure and the surface can develop into more dire issues and should be looked at by a professional service specialist.

Keeping up with the core maintenance of your car’s tires is a great way to increase the longevity of the rubber’s lifetime. As tires begin to wear down over the years, it is useful to perform regular checks to bring safe driving conditions. With a few extra checks and information, you can make sure that your tires stay in top shape and help improve the safety of your driving experience!