With summer upon us, our attention turns to getting out of the house more often, including those long-awaited road trips to the cottage or other destinations. It’s important to make sure your car is riding on well-maintained tires so you can get through the season safely.
From my experience as a long-time trained mechanic and educator, I have seen my fair share of individuals not take care of their tires – resulting in damage and extra costs. To get the season started off right, here’s my easy reference guide to tire maintenance:
In my opinion, the average vehicle owner should replace their tires after 50,000 to 70,000 kilometres under regular driving circumstances. With that said, tire type, driving habits, and air pressure will have an impact on how long your tires last. Tire air pressure is checked with a pressure gauge and, if needed, tires should be filled to the correct pressure.
While your mechanic should always check the alignment of your wheels whenever you change tires or take the vehicle to the shop for a full tune-up, there can be instances between visits where you may notice your car is starting to veer slightly to either side of the road. Should this occur, your car may require an immediate professional adjustment because it could lead to unsafe driving conditions. Ignoring this could also result in a shorter tire replacement cycle.
Another tire condition that requires immediate attention is cracking. If you notice any signs of cracking in the tires on your vehicle, you should also seek immediate replacement of your tires. Regardless of how much tread is left, cracking indicates that the rubber is starting to degrade.
All rims require inspection and should be serviced and repaired as necessary. Rims should be checked regularly for corrosion in and around the valve stem, where the tire mounts. If your tires are losing air, this may be a result of a leak around the corroded area of the rim. I look for signs of wear around the tire bead and, if necessary, take it to the shop to have a professional remove any corrosion. I also regularly inspect for small fracture cracks which may occur if the vehicle has been involved in any impact. Depending on the extent of the damage, rim repair may be possible. If you are unfamiliar with the mechanics of your motor vehicle’s rims, be sure to have a professional inspect them on a regular basis.
WHAT NOT TO TRY AT HOME
Expertise and specialized equipment are needed when servicing motor vehicles. If you are not a practiced car mechanic, certain tire operations, such as changing rims, repairing punctures, and ensuring proper functioning of a Tire Pressure Monitoring System, should be done by a professional.
You can always monitor your tires regularly at home, but in my experience, a professional should inspect them at least once per year. An easy way to do this is to bring in your vehicle for summer or winter service, including tire inspection, when you have your winter tires taken off or put on. If you have any reason to suspect that your motor vehicle’s tires need inspection earlier, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Have a tire question or tip to contribute? Leave it in the comments below!