The Tire Service and Maintenance Guide
Everybody knows that tires are integral their vehicle’s performance and safety. Regardless, most people don’t even think about their tires except when scheduling their biannual seasonal rubber changeover or fixing a flat. Here’s everything you need to know about tire service and care.
Cost of Inflation
Keeping your tires properly inflated has a number of benefits. First, having the correct PSI improves your fuel economy. Second, having correctly inflated tires decreases your stopping distance and improves handling. I don’t need to explain why being able to maneuver and stop effectively is important for your overall safety on the road. Finally, keeping your tires at right pressure reduces the risk of getting a flat, and generally prolongs the tread life.
To get the best from your tires, you should be checking your tire pressure at least once a month. However, fluctuations in air temperature cause the pressure to change quickly, so if the weather has suddenly changed, you might want to check again.
If you haven’t been keeping an eye on proper inflation, your tires will tell the story. Excessive wearing on the outside shoulders suggests under inflation. Excessive wear along the center suggests your tires are overinflated. The fix is simple, inflate your tires properly!
Don’t fill your tires up to the maximum pressure indicated on the sidewall. That’s not the ideal driving pressure. Ideal driving pressure is indicated on a sticker in the doorwell as well as in your owner’s manual. Unfortunately, you can’t fix all tire wear issues so easily.
Despite what you may have heard, nitrogen is not an incredible mystery element. Our air contains 78% nitrogen and less than 21% oxygen, so your tires are already “filled with nitrogen.” However, getting your tires inflated with pure nitrogen does have an advantage.
Namely, nitrogen is less susceptible to changes in temperature than oxygen. That means the pressure in your tires won’t change that dramatically with the weather. As a bonus, because filling your tires with pure nitrogen involves repeatedly flushing the air, you’ll also end up with less water inside your tires. Water can change pressure like oxygen and it corrodes your wheels.
Serious Tire Wear
Unfortunately, even consistently well-inflated tires can suffer wear problems. If you notice that your tire wear is uneven (one side and not the other, or seemingly random), you may have bigger problems to worry about.
If you excessive tire wear on one side of the tire, you most likely have alignment problems. A wheel alignment is relatively inexpensive and will improve your steering and increase the life of your tires. Excessive single-side tire wear can also be caused by various damaged parts at the front of your vehicle like ball joints and the suspension. Bring your car to a trusted mechanic – it should be easy to diagnose.
If you notice seemingly random or erratic wear, there are probably greater underlying problems. Wheel bearings, poorly mounted wheels, and suspension problems are all likely culprits. Of course, most people aren’t going to get on their knees to diagnose mysterious tire wear. Fortunately, you can just take your vehicle to your trusted mechanic, or whomever performs your tire service, and he or she will diagnose the issue with little difficulty.
Right Tires for the Season
An obvious tip for prolonging the life of your tires is to use the right tire in the right season. Most importantly, remove your winter tires before it gets too warm outside. Winter tires are comprised of pliable rubber, that remains flexible in cold temperatures. But in summer, the rubber expands and becomes extremely soft, making it susceptible to road wear. So, take your winter tires off when the temperature reaches seven degrees or you’ll greatly decrease the life of your tires.
Follow these tips to stay safe and prolong the life of your tires. Click here to learn more about the tire service we offer. Did you know that Capital GMC Buick Cadillac offers a 30-Day Tire Price Match Guarantee?