In any season, well-working tires help you drive safely, but this is especially true during winter months when freezing precipitation and falling temperatures increase driving hazards. If you live in an area with long, volatile winters, you might even consider tires specially-designed for cold elements. No matter your location, however, understanding when your tires beg to be changed will help you keep your vehicle in top working condition. Here’s what to look out for:
Tire tread refers to the grooves and bumps on the outside of the tire. Since they grip the road and ensure proper traction, they are essential to a tire’s performance and your safety. Low tread not only makes it more likely you’ll slip on icy roads but can signal underinflated, misaligned, or otherwise damaged tires, causing other problems (like decreased gas mileage).
Tire Warning Light
Modern vehicles (built after 2008) come equipped with a tire warning light that signals low tire pressure, which can indicate a bigger issue (it looks like an uppercase “U” with an exclamation mark in the center). If this light pops on, check the air in your tires and add any, if necessary. If the light stays on, you should have your tires checked right away.
Every vehicle vibrates to a certain degree, especially on rough roads, but if the shaking feels excessive, your tires could be out of alignment or the suspension could be damaged. If the drive feels extra rough, seeing a professional immediately is the safest bet.
Sometimes, tires can get cracked or worn along the sides, which indicates wear that could lead to an air leak or blowout. This problem doesn’t always show up with age; hitting a deep pothole or curb can cause significant damage to any tire.
Low tread along a tire’s center means over-inflation but along the edges signals under-inflation. However, excessive wear along one side means you likely have a bigger problem, such as misaligned tires or damaged parts (springs or ball joints, for example). If one side of the tire looks normal while the other seems worn, have your tires checked by a mechanic promptly.
Checking your tires frequently will prevent minor issues from becoming major expenses, and having professional eyes on them during routine oil changes or other services can help alert you to emerging tire problems.
Remember, for all your vehicle’s maintenance and repair needs, call Checkpoint Motors at 503-655-2321 and schedule an appointment today!