New tires can be very expensive, and not many of us like to regularly spend our hard-earned dollars on a new set of tires.
It is possible to extend the life of your tires, which will also make for a safer drive.
Whether you drive a large ute with a heavy load or a zippy sedan like the Kia Cerato, you can extend your tire’s life by following some easy steps.
8 Tips to make improve your tires’ longevity
1) Maintain proper tire pressure
The easiest step to extend the life of your tire is to maintain the correct air pressure.
Incorrect air pressure will increase wear and tear, make driving conditions sluggish, and increase your stopping distance. You also risk a tire exploding due to incorrect tire pressure.
When should you check your air pressure?
- Monthly, because tires can lose a pound per square inch (PSI) of pressure monthly.
- In winter, when colder temperatures lower air pressure (or opt for a new set of winter tires).
- In summer, when warm weather increases air pressure.
Checking your tire pressure is about more than just saving money. Checking your tires regularly will help ensure your safety and also improve fuel economy.
2) Regularly rotate your tires
Unless you have a 4×4, only two of the wheels are responsible for driving the car, which may cause uneven tread wear.
On front-wheel-drive cars, the front wheels will wear faster, and the same with the back wheels on rear-wheel-drive cars. Even all-wheel-drive vehicles will have uneven wear as the drive is shifted between the wheels.
Ask a technician to rotate your tires by moving them to different positions on the car, so the tires wear out evenly.
Try to do tire rotations every 4,000 km, and stick to this tire rotation schedule.
3) Balance your tires
While rotating the tires, ask the technician to also have your wheels balanced. Each tire or wheel has a heavy spot, and this small increase in weight on one section may cause uneven tire wear, and also make for a shaky and uneven ride.
Your mechanic can balance the wheels using small counterweights, and as the tire wears, the weights may be changed or moved around. Balancing your tires is affordable, quick and easy, and will save money.
4) Check your tire alignment
Misalignment of your tires means it may be pulling to one side, or the steering wheel vibrates.
Or, your vehicle may be driving fine with the wheels misaligned. If you hit a curb, pothole, uneven pavement or bump in the road, your wheel alignment may shift.
Even the smallest misalignment may increase tire tread wear and reduce fuel efficiency. One of the best ways to extend tire life is to check your wheel alignment every six months, whether you suspect something is wrong or not.
5) Drive calmly
Reckless driving will not only endanger yourself and others, it will also wear down your tire tread.
If you drive smoothly – including accelerating slowly and braking in a calm fashion – then your tire health will be maintained and you won’t be wearing the tires down with friction.
6) Keep your tires inflated
Keeping your tires properly inflated to the correct pressure is the surest way to extend a tires life.
Depending on the roads you drive – dirt, sand or tarmac – your tires will require different levels of inflation.
With tires inflated to the right pressure to keep maximum contact with the road surface, the optimal grip will be maintained, and tires won’t wear as fast.
7) Keep your tires clean
If you take care of your tires, then your tires are guaranteed to last longer.
Regularly check your tires for debris, and remove any large pieces stuck in the treads.
When you wash your car, also wash the wheels and use a brush to remove any grime and dirt.
Try to do this once or twice a month.
8) Invest in top-quality tires
Better quality tires will last longer. If you live in a region with vastly different seasons, then invest in quality seasonal tires, or purchase “all-season tires”.
Checking your tire quality
The tire tread depth is the easiest way to assess the condition of your tires.
If your tire is smooth in some areas or the treads are very shallow, it is time to change your tires or have your tires rotated so that the smoother tires do less of the driving.
Also, consider the age of your tires. Older tires are presumably in a worse condition and have a higher chance of tire failure.
Check the treads and sidewalls of the tire for any bumps, scratches, cuts or shallow punctures.
You don’t have to regularly purchase new tires if you follow the top tips for extending the life of your tires.
You may have to pay for a mechanic to help with unbalanced tires or tire rotation, but these low-cost maintenance options will help you save in the long run.