AAA Presidents' Day Call to Action:
Use George Washington to Test Tires
Two Simple Tire Checks Can Improve Winter Driving Safety
With winter weather once again adding a slippery layer to roads across the state, AAA is encouraging motorists to use Presidents' Day – and George Washington’s head – to check their tires...reducing crash risk and minimizing potential damage to their tires and vehicles caused by potholes.
“The two most important tire safety checks – a pressure reading and tread depth measurement – are very simple to do,” according to Randy Saly, Manager of the AAA Car Care Center in Southington. “If motorists spend about two minutes on each tire, they will keep their tires at peak performance and minimize risks”.
Here’s where George Washington comes in:
Checking tire tread depth: Measure tread depth with a quarter. When the top of Washington's head is exposed (see photo), the tires are worn to the point of being unsafe and it’s time to start shopping for new tires.
Checking tire pressure:
- 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 Saly.
AAA testing has shown that tires worn to 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 so it’s road ready in case of an emergency.
AAA offers the following maintenance tips to extend the life of your tires:
- Recognize Noises/Vibrations – February is POTHOLE season! A hard pothole 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 hitting a pothole 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. Large potholes are also known for damaging tires and rims.
- 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 as soon as possible.
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