February 17, 2019 – This President’s Day, put George Washington to work to keep you safe on the roads. AAA Oklahoma urges motorists to mark the holiday with two safety checks on your vehicle’s tires, one using a quarter emblazoned with the first president of the U.S. as a tool.
Worn tires can send a car into dangerous skids and spins on wet and icy winter roads. Checking tire pressure and tread depth monthly can help motorists keep tires in optimal condition, according to AAA.
“The two most important tire safety checks – a pressure reading and tread depth measurement – take about two minutes to perform on each tire,” according to Leslie Gamble, AAA Oklahoma spokesperson. “Performing these monthly will alert vehicle owners to concerns that could put their lives at risk on the roads.”
Two steps are illustrated:
- Measure tread depth with a quarter. When the top of Washington's head is exposed, the tread depth is 4/32" or less and it’s time to start shopping for new tires.
- Use a quality gauge to check tire pressure. For proper results, make sure tires are cold. Look for the recommended air pressure in the vehicle’s owner’s manual or on the tire information decal located inside the driver’s side door or in the glove compartment. The number molded into the tire sidewall is not recommended for normal operating condition; this specification is for a tire that is carrying its maximum rated payload.
“Worn tires should be replaced immediately because they significantly impact safety,” says Gamble. “Testing has shown that tires with only half of their tread depth can take up 6 feet longer to stop from 40 miles-per-hour on a wet surface, even with the antilock braking system engaged.”
AAA reminds motorists not to forget to also periodically check the air in your spare tire, at least once a month so it’s road ready in case of an emergency.
AAA Oklahoma offers the following maintenance tips to extend the life of your tires:
- Recognize Noises/Vibrations – A pothole, speed bump or other road impact can dislodge wheel weights, damage a tire or wheel, and bend or even break suspension components. Any new or unusual noises or vibrations that appear after taking a jolt should be inspected immediately by a certified technician.
- Alignment – Check the alignment every six months. Potholes and road imperfections can
cause alignment adjustments to change.
- Rotation – A four-wheel tire rotation is recommended by most tire manufacturers after
every 6,000 miles. Rotating tires every other oil change is an easy way to keep track of
- Inspection – Inspect tires when checking tire pressure. Inspect tire tread for wear, damage, or heavy cracking. Inspect sidewalls for cracks, cuts, bulges, bubbles, and slices. Any damage to the sidewall would render the tire unsafe. Blemishes from tire manufacturing, one or more indentations in the sidewall from tire assembly, or scrapes/bruises from light curb rubs are not major issues. Have any noticeable damage to the tire inspected by a trained professional as soon as possible.