TOLEDO, OH (February 18, 2019) – This President’s Day, put George Washington to the test to keep you safe on the roads. AAA 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 Rob Whitt, car care manager at AAA Tire & Auto Center, Perrysburg. “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 Whitt. “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’s Car Care Center 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 this service.
- 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, such as those AAA’s Car Care, Insurance and Travel Center, as soon as possible.
AAA provides automotive, travel, and insurance services to 58 million members nationwide and more than three million members in Ohio. AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years. AAA is a non-stock, non-profit corporation working on behalf of motorists, who can now map a route, find local gas prices, discover discounts, book a hotel, and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app (AAA.com/mobile) for iPhone, iPad and Android. For more information, visit www.AAA.com.