Ten Things You Need to Know About Proper Tire Maintenance

December 11th, 2020 by

A close up is shown of a vehicle with the wheel off exposing its suspension components.

An often overlooked but never unimportant aspect of car care is tire maintenance and making sure to visit the tire shop near you regularly. Many vehicle owners choose to emphasize other aspects of vehicle upkeep, such as drivetrain, interior, and exterior care, and thus take having sturdy, reliable tires as a given, or simply allow them to deteriorate far too quickly. Should you hear a rumble on the road or simply want to make the most of your brand new wheels, give this blog post a pass through and be sure that you are doing everything you can to give your tires a fighting chance. Here are ten things you must know about proper tire care and maintenance.

#1 Check Your Car’s Shock Absorbers/Struts

The first thing to note when diagnosing the health of each tire is the condition of the car’s shock absorbers. As counter-intuitive as it may seem to check away from the tire, the shock absorbers’ relationship to each tire means their health is crucial for tire functionality. It’s because the car’s tires take on the brunt of the impact force or “shock” as the car travels over the road; the job of the shock absorbers is to ease that strain.

If your shock absorbers are in bad condition, this can seriously hurt the longevity of your tires, so it should be implicit that healthy shock absorbers are a key to maintaining your car’s tires. So, how is this done? Press down on the area right above where each tire is, and make a note of any give or bounce. The car’s corners should remain relatively stable no matter how much pressure you put on them. They don’t need to be completely immovable, but a car that gives and begins to sag downwards when pressed at the corner above the wheelbase has a faulty or damaged shock, and that needs to be replaced immediately, or every tire placed under the strain of that weak shock will fall apart much more quickly than necessary.

#2 Check Your Car’s Suspension

The next thing to take note of is your car’s suspension. A faulty suspension on your car can cause a number of maintenance-related headaches for your vehicle over time, including an increased rate of wear on your tires, so, if you want to save yourself from frequent trips to the nearest tire shop, it’s a valuable investment of time and energy to ensure all of your suspension components are in good shape.

How is this done? Simply jack up your vehicle until the tire you want to inspect is fully off the ground, then grab the tire at three and nine o’clock (left and right on your tire horizontally) and try to shake them. There should be no wiggle or “play” in the tires when this is done. The tires should stay stiffly in place. Should they wobble as you try to move them horizontally, your car has a worn tire tie rod, which causes your tire to shake back and forth too much.

Once horizontally checked, grab the tire at six and twelve o’clock (directly up and down on the tire) to ensure there is no wobble or play. If the tire wobbles vertically, you can be sure that your car has a faulty ball joint, and any structural weakness that causes tires to sit incorrectly on the road will inevitably lead to an increased rate of wear.

These first two checks are always important to make a note of before moving to check the individual tires themselves because the health of any tire placed underneath these components depends on them. Even brand new tires with bad structural elements above them will wear and fall apart quickly, so before even checking the state of your tires, make sure the pieces around your tire are in top shape.

#3 Check Your Tire Pressure

This one is simple. Not too low, not too high. Every vehicle model has a recommended tire pressure that can be researched or simply found on the car’s rear or passenger door frames. A range of acceptable psi numbers will be given (say 30-35 psi), and it’s best to fall in between that range (31 or 32 psi should do fine) and try to keep your tires around those levels. Too much or too little tire pressure leads to issues on both ends, and this problem is among the easiest to diagnose and fix, so be sure not to overlook it.

#4 Rotate Your Tires Regularly

It is recommended to get a tire rotation for a regularly driven vehicle every 6 to 8 months or 6,000-7,500 miles.

A technician is attaching an alignment tool to the wheel of a vehicle.

#5 Get Regular Wheel Alignments

Road bumps, potholes, railroad crossings, and any unexpected debris that comes in contact with your tire can cause your wheels to be knocked out of alignment. Driving on misaligned wheels is always a bad idea since it leads to uneven tread wear and will eventually cause traction loss for your vehicle. This can be mitigated by taking your car to a mechanic or our tire shop to have the wheels properly aligned to ensure optimal traction on the road. A wheel alignment should typically be performed every 15,000 miles or when you purchase new tires.

#6 Change Tires Seasonally

In areas with widely varying climates throughout the year, it is highly recommended to have a set of tires for both the colder and warmer seasons. Subjecting one set of tires to such dramatic changes in temperature year-round is not a good idea and will hurt the longevity of the rubber on your tires, calling for frequent maintenance or repair. Though it seems counter-intuitive to spend the extra money upfront, investing in both a summer and winter set of tires may be the best bet to ensure that your car stays on the road with little issues from your wheelbase year-round.

#7 Do Not Mix and Match Tires

While it may seem tempting to purchase and replace one or two tires at a time, the truth is this is not as cost-effective as one might believe. Having tires that are not evenly worn and used will lead to rapid tread wear and tear on all tires of your vehicle, even if only one initially needed to be replaced. Keep an eye on your tire’s health, and, if possible, try to replace them all at once, and be sure to check that your tires are all the same model, size, and brand.

#8 Store Spare Tires Properly

Be sure to keep your extra tires in an environment that is clean, out of excessive sunlight that can cause warps and cracks in the rubber, and well away from any sharp objects that might puncture your spares. If your tires are stored indoors, be sure to keep the tires raised off the ground and to use waterproof covers to prevent moisture buildup.

#9 Properly Repair (or Replace) Punctured Tires

Any cracks or holes in your tires caused by road debris will quickly become a detriment to your tire’s health, and as we’ve mentioned before, any imbalances between your tires will cause them to sit unevenly on the road and thus wear unevenly. A problem with one tire is a problem that will affect the entire set, so don’t leave it to chance when your tire springs a leak. Bring it to one of our experts at Thomas Nissan or have it replaced outright, and be sure the replacement is balanced and matches your existing set.

A mechanic is inspecting a tire with a flashlight at a tire shop near you.

#10 Keep an Eye on Your Rubber

Chief among all the tips and tricks to keep your tires in shape, the most valuable resource you can give to your tires is your regular attention. Give your tires a brief inspection, checking off every significant box, and ensuring your tires’ surrounding components are all fully functional at least once a month. This can save you a lot of time and frustration further down the road.

If You Need Expert Tire Care, Visit Thomas Nissan

In the end, nothing saves time and money on tire care and maintenance, like frequent diagnostics and proper practices. Be sure to implement the recommendations laid out in this blog post to protect your tires and optimize your driving experience on the road. For any routine care, tire changes, or for your other service needs, visit us in Joliet, IL, today.

Posted in Tire Shop Near Me