They say that a vehicle is one of the worst investments an individual can make due to the fact that it will immediately depreciate in value the very second it is driven off the car lot. While this may be true, having a vehicle is essential to maintain the way of life for millions of Americans, not to mention the safety of these Americans. Vehicle neglect is a common occurrence in the United States with conservative estimates placing the cost of vehicle neglect at a $2 billion impact on the United States economy every year. Although those guilty of vehicle neglect are sure to shoulder some of that cost unless preventative action is taken, it is the detrimental impact to the driver’s safety as well as the safety of those who share the road with a neglected vehicle that is the real cause of concern. As one of the most essential elements of the modern vehicle, one’s tires ought to merit a regular and close inspection to ensure safety is a priority for you and others on the road.
The Basics of Tire Care
There are several precautions that motor vehicle operators should keep in mind with respect to a vehicle’s tires according to experts. A tire rotation, for instance, ought to be done regularly every 7,500 miles or as often as stated in the vehicle’s owner manual. The alignment of one’s tires should also be checked frequently; experts suggest that alignment should be checked every 6,000 miles or whenever the oil is changed on your vehicle. Perhaps the most frequent cause of tire failure is due to improper inflation. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) confirmed that vehicles driving on tires that are under-inflated by over 25% are over three times more likely to be involved in a crash related to tire problems than vehicles that maintain proper tire inflation. Many drivers may be shocked to know that by the time a tire begins to appear flat it has likely already lost over 50% of its inflation pressure and can result in unnecessary tire stress, irregular wear on treads, and loss of motor vehicle control that can lead to accidents.
Preparing for the Elements
For those areas of the country that regularly experience severe winter conditions, it is essential to maintain a close eye on one’s tires. The cold air temperature can cause one’s tires to lose air pressure over time, increasing the risk of driving every day on top of poor road conditions. Investing in winter tires may be best for those living in areas that receive regular accumulation during winter. Winter tires come in studded and studless varieties to help increase a tire’s surface area on slick and snowy roads. Although winter tires perform admirably on cold, snowy roads keep in mind that warm, dry pavement will increase the risk of wear and tear as well as generally decrease the performance — for this reason it is best to swap the winter tires out in the spring when wintery conditions are over. Keep in mind that some insurance companies even offer as much as 5% off an individual’s premium simply for equipping a vehicle with four winter tires; contact your insurance provider to determine if you are eligable.
Nothing lasts for ever, especially something that accumulates an average of 15,000 miles per year. As they are used tires begin to lose treading overtime; the treads of tires are what allow them to better grip the road. Test results estimate that hydroplaning starts at 47 miles per hour when cornering on used tires with a grove depth below 1.6 millimeters whereas the corresponding hydroplaning speed for new tires is 60 miles per hour. Worn, used tires only continue to get worse as time goes on and thus could potentially increase the risk of accidents especially in poor road conditions. It is recommended to purchase new tires or used tires only from certified dealers to ensure that replacement tires have optimal treading in order to avoid potential collisions and early replacement costs.