Driving in the winter can present different challenges when on the road. Winter storms can bring snow, sleet, ice, and freezing rain. We had a major winter storm last month where many cars and trucks slid off the road, accidents blocked highways, and, in some spots, people were stranded in traffic for 16 hours. Things were quite a mess the second weekend in January. I am sure good tires and bad tires were a factor in whether or not a vehicle was able to stay on the road.
One of the most important things on your vehicle is the tires. I can’t stress this point enough. That six-inch section of rubber is the only part that separates you from the road. If the tires are in poor condition and or improperly inflated, it dramatically decreases the safety of the vehicle. Tires should be inspected for proper air pressure, tread depth, sidewall damage, uneven tread wear and even the age of the tire. These are all important factors in keeping tires in their most efficient condition.
Correct air pressure is critical for tires. This is the reason the federal government made car manufactures put tire pressure monitoring systems on vehicles. Under inflated tires are a major factor related to some car accidents that happen every day. When you are checking your tire’s air pressure make sure that the air pressure is at the amount indicated for your vehicle. Most cars built from the early 2000’s have a sticker on the driver’s door post where the door closes, listing the air pressure for that vehicle. If you are not sure what the air pressure should be, a good rule of thumb for passenger cars, mini vans, light trucks and SUV’s is 32 to 35 psi. In the winter, the colder temperatures result in the tires losing air quicker. Check your tires condition monthly to avoid unnecessary problems.
Checking the tire’s tread depth and wear patterns are just as important. If the tread is low, the vehicle may have a greater tendency to slide when the roads are wet or slick. Low tire tread also increases the stopping distance needed to stop the vehicle. Keeping a check on your tires helps you have better control of the vehicle and a better grip on the road.
When the car is parked you can only see the outer edge of the tire, but this doesn’t tell the whole story. Many times, the tire’s inner edges are completely worn down with very little tread remaining or could be worn into the steel cords. When the tires are in this condition, they are very unsafe. A good habit to get into is once a month when you park the car, turn the wheels all the way to the left or right. This will give you a full view of the entire section of both front tires. Now you’ll be able to see the wear on the inner edge of the tire. Trying to get a good look at the rear tires is kind of difficult. You have to lay on the ground to get a good view of the rear inner tire.
Here at Robinwood we would be happy to inspect the conditions of your tires for free. Just stop on by, we will check your air pressure, inspect the tire’s tread condition and give you an honest answer about the condition of your tires. If your tire needs a little air, we’ll take care of that for you.
A few more winter driving tips. When road conditions become less than ideal, slow down. Leave plenty of space between you and the vehicle in front of you. Make sure to drive at a comfortable speed. Winter weather can change in an instant, so if you are planning a long drive, check the weather and road conditions. There is a mobile phone app called Waze that has good information on traffic and road conditions.
Since tires are the only part of the car between you and the surface of the road, always make sure they are in the best condition possible. We want to keep you and your loved ones safe when driving this Winter and in all seasons.