Tires are an investment for your car, just as shoes are an investment for your feet. As such, you want to make sure the tires are properly maintained so they have the longest service life possible. The following are just a few of the things you can do to keep your tires in good condition for as long as possible.
#1: Invest in a tire gauge
Maintaining proper pressure is the number one thing to do to maintain your tires. The recommended pressure is printed on the side wall of the tire, and it is also usually inside your owner's manual. Keep a tire pressure gauge in your glove box and check pressure each time you fill up the gas tank. You can purchase easy-to-read digital gauges to make this task even easier. If a tire is low, promptly add air then monitor it closely to make sure it isn't leaking.
#2: Keep up with regular rotations
Everyday driving can result in some uneven wear, which is why having the tires rotated regularly is a must. Most tire dealers offer free or low-cost annual tire rotations and balancing. Make sure to schedule this service yearly, perhaps in conjunction with your oil change or other annual service visit. Uneven wear isn't just bad on tires—it can also put unnecessary stress on the entire drive train.
#3: Know how to spot problems
In your pocket is likely the perfect tool for a self tire inspection—a Lincoln penny. Use that penny to check the tread for uneven wear at least once a month. Insert the penny, head first, into the tire tread. If the head isn't inside the tread, then it's time for new tires. Check several points on each tire so you can also spot uneven tread wear. Catching uneven wear early can help you prevent further damage and the need for premature tire replacement.
#4: Avoid flattening
If you'll be leaving the car parked and unmoving for more than a month, consider placing the car on lifts if you can at least drive it around the block once a month. Leaving the car parked for too long can result in the tires flattening and warping permanently on one side.
#5: Keep an eye on the sun
In sunny and dry climates, dry rot can shorten tire life. If you must park somewhere for long periods where there is direct sun exposure on one or both sides of the car, invest in tire covers to help protect from dry rot. You can also purchase tire treatments that further reduce rot problems.
For more help with your car tires, visit a tire service in your area.