The trouble with tires is we sometimes won’t do any maintenance until they’re giving out underneath us on the freeway. We’ve all driven past someone with a flat and been thankful it wasn’t us–then comes the day where it is us. Here are some reasons we wind up with a flat tire:
- Puncture by a sharp object
- Failure or damage to the valve stem (the piece that sticks out from the tire that you unscrew when a tire needs air)
- Tread wear/rips
- Improper inflation
There’s little you can do about the first two, but #3 and #4 can be prevented. There are a few surefire ways to prevent flat tires due to #3 and #4. Plus, tire maintenance does more than keep you off the shoulder with a wrench in one hand and a spare tire in the other. It keeps down numerous other costs, too–including your insurance rate.
For one, think about how much harder it is to ride a bike with under-inflated tires–that’s how much more work your car has to do when the tire pressure is low. Your mileage and gas efficiency will tank. Check the inside of your car door or your owner’s manual for the proper air pressure for your tires, and the maximum carrying capacity of your vehicle. Check the pressure once a month, especially before longer trips. Always check your tires when they’re cold–at least 3-4 hours since the car was driven. (Pro-tip: the gauge will read the tire’s PSI or “pound per square inch).
While you’re checking the tire pressure, you may as well check the tread. All you need is a penny to test whether your tires need to be replaced because of low tread. Place the penny into the tread groove–see Abe Lincoln’s head? That means your tread is low and probably should be replaced. Take note of any signs of uneven wear. This could be a sign of a bigger problem the folks at the tire shop should check out while you’re bringing the car in to change a tire for tread.
Recently involved in a collision? Even if you and the car made it out okay, check the tire alignment. Misaligned tires cause a lot of unnecessary tread wear and tear. All in all, keep an eye on your tires, keep checking the pressure monthly, and always have the tools required to change a flat in your trunk. If you have AAA, they will typically provide roadside assistance for flat tires, dead batteries, towing, and vehicle lockout.
Questions about insuring your vehicle, or your current coverage? Contact BMR Insurance at (714) 838-1911 for a free quote.