In most circumstances, there are four things that keep your vehicle from touching the road, tires. Last year, there was nearly 1,000 traffic fatalities related to tires. You should pick tires specifically for your vehicle, depending on what kind of car you drive, where you live, and how old your car is.
There are typically four types of tires: all-season tires, all-terrain tires, winter tires and summer tires. Based just on the name, you can probably figure out what they all mean, but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration explains them all in greater depth. It would not be wise for someone living in Arizona to buy the same type of tires as someone living in Minnesota, and visa versa. Having a four-wheel drive or all wheel drive vehicle will help you in bad weather, but it doesn’t mean anything if you have old tires trying to maneuver in rain, sleet or snow.
As in any aspect of life, maintenance is also a key safety tip. Poor tire maintenance can provide a number of different problems while on the road. Another mind-boggling statistic provided by the NHTSA, is that you can save as much as 11 cents per gallon on fuel by just properly inflating your tires. However only 19% of drivers do so. Make sure to check the PSI and to cross-examine that with your manual to determine if you tires are properly inflated.
Tires have “tread meters” build-in to them. It would be wise to check the tread of your tires every couple months. The classic penny trick always works for checking your tires tread as well. Place a penny in the tread with Lincoln’s head upside down, facing you. If you can see the top of his head, on the penny, your tires should be replaced.
Rotating your tires will also help them last longer. Check your owner’s manual for information on how frequently to do so. There is a certain way to rotate your tires, based on if you have rear, front or four-wheel drive.
Everyone should also know how to change a tire, in case of emergency. Most cars have spares on deck, ready to go. Even if you have brand new tires, you never know when you will get into a fluke accident or run over a nail out on the road.