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Taking Care Of Your Tires Is Simple - And Crucial

By:Lauren Fix

Your tires are the only parts of your vehicle that touch the ground. Whether you're driving a sub-compact or a full-size SUV, road and vehicle are connected by four tires resting on an area about the size of your fist called the "contact patch."

The secret to improving fuel economy, safety, handling and traction is checking tire pressure monthly. Check in the in the morning, when tires are cold from having sat all night ; when you drive, road friction and movement build up heat in your tires, which changes pressure. Don't forget to check your spare!
How do you check your tire pressure?

The first step is to invest in a digital tire pressure gauge and small air compressor. A stick gauge is about equal to the thermometer that your mom used to put under your tongue to take your temperature - hard to read and thus not too accurate. Digital gauges are easier to read and offer the most accurate results.

Get the right tire pressure from your door placard (a decal inside your driver's door, or located in your glove box or inside the gas door on some German cars). Make sure to get the right number to match your tires - never use the air pressure number that is on the tire to adjust your tire pressure. Why? Your tire may fit many different cars, with different tire specifications, so one tire pressure doesn't fit all. Also, be aware that some cars will list more than one tire size, or list different tire pressures if you are towing a vehicle.

1. Remove the valve stem cap and set it aside someplace where you'll be able to find it when you're done
2. Push tire pressure gauge squarely onto the valve stem
3. Try not to let air out of the tire
4. Your gauge will read a tire pressure. If you are low, use your air compressor to add air pressure to get their right amount. If the pressure reads high, gradually let out enough air to meet the correct tire pressure, checking frequently to make sure you don't let too much air out of the tire
5. Make sure to replace the valve cap; dirt can get in the valve stem and cause corrosion, and a small stone that gets caught in the valve stem can result in leaking air
6. Don't forget to check your spare tire, too - if it's a mini-spare, tire pressure will be different. Of course, if you have run-flat tires, you don't have a spare

Checking the condition of your tires:

Have you checked the depth of your tire treads lately? Don't feel bad if you haven't - most people don't until they happen to notice that the tires are nearly bald.

In addition to normal wear and tear, tires can be damaged in a variety of ways from daily driving:
- Punctures and holes - who left that roofing nail on the street?
- Impacts - potholes are one thing, but how can you avoid a crater the size of a swimming pool?
- Curb rubs - sometimes you have no choice but to try and parallel park!
- Overloading - who needs to rent a trailer when you can load your kid's entire bedroom in the back of your SUV for the trip to college?
- Damage - the concrete parking bumper can be a great way to determine if you've pulled into a parking spot far enough

Even if you avoid the kinds of situations outlined above, good tires can go bad before their time, so make a point of examining your tires regularly; if they appear worn or feathered, or if you see metal wires peeking through, you need to visit an Auto Service Plus facility right away for service you can trust.

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Article keywords: car tires, car safety, tires, lauren fix, car care advice

Article Source:

Lauren Fix, a nationally-respected car care advocate and spokesperson for Auto Service Plus, makes it easy for you to take care of your car tires. For more car care tips please visit


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