Tire Safety Check Cheat Sheet
Tires play a major role in both the safety and performance of your vehicle in Phoenix, Arizona. The desert heat in Phoenix is especially hard on tires. Appropriate tire care and safety checks are not difficult, and you should spend a few minutes each month checking over your tires as a part of your regular PHX auto maintenance.
Perform a Visual Check
Look for foreign objects such as nails stuck in the tire, un-even wear, cracks, especially in the sidewalls, and any signs of wear or damage near or on the valve stems. Look for tires that appear to be obviously underinflated, although with radial tires, it’s often impossible to determine under inflation by visual inspection alone.
Inspect Tire Tread
Once you have determined that there are no foreign objects lodged in the tires, inspect the tread. There are several ways of doing this. There is a tool specifically designed to measure tire tread available for purchase at your Phoenix auto part store or from your mechanic. You can also use a ruler, by placing it in a tread groove to measure the depth of the tread. Tire tread should be at least 1/8 of an inch deep. Or you can use the penny trick. Place a penny in the tread groove with Lincoln’s head facing toward you and upside down. If you can see the entire top of Lincoln’s head, your tires do not have enough tread. In addition, look for un–even tread wear. This may be a sign you are in need of wheel alignment by a Phoenix Arizona mechanic.
Check Air Pressure
To check the air pressure, remove the valve stem cover and press a tire pressure gauge firmly against the valve stem. The gauge contains a meter that will be pushed out by the air pressure inside your tire. The numbered lines on the tire pressure gauge will show how many pounds of air pressure the tire currently contains.
You can find the properly recommended air pressure for your tires in the owner’s manual and also on a sticker inside the driver’s door. This information only applies to OEM (original equipment manufacturer) tires.
What if you aren’t running the original tires? Possibly you have changed to ten ply tires on your truck, or low profile tires on your sports car. In that case you can find the recommended air pressure on the sidewall of the tire.
Vehicles manufactured since 2010 contain TMPS (tire pressure monitoring systems) so that a warning light on your dashboard should show if a tire is not properly inflated.
A tire that is even slightly overinflated can be damaged more easily by bumps and road debris. It will also result in a bumpy ride, decreased stability, and excess tread wear on the middle of the tires.
An underinflated tire bends more easily as you drive, which results in an internal heat buildup, which can result in a blowout, especially in the heat of Phoenix Arizona. In addition, underinflated tires will reduce fuel economy and produce excess tread wear on the outer sides of the tires.
It’s essential that you check your tire pressure with a high quality air gauge since improper tire inflation is seldom visible to the naked eye.
Pay Attention to How your Car Handles
If you notice any vibration or shaking of the steering wheel as you drive, first check that all tires are properly inflated. If the tire pressure is good your tires may need to be balanced or aligned. Your Phoenix, Arizona mechanic can check this as part of routine auto maintenance. A mechanic will use weights to balance your tires and then use special equipment to align the wheels by adjusting their angle in relation to the auto frame. In addition, having your tires rotated as recommended in the owner’s manual will prolong their life.
Don’t Forget About the Spare Tire
Remember to perform all the recommended inspections and auto maintenance on your spare tire as well, and make certain that you have the correct jack as specified in your owner’s manual.
Scottsdale Muffler & Automotive
1710 E Curry Rd
Tempe, AZ 85281
Monday: 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Tuesday: 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Wednesday: 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Thursday: 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Friday: 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.