How to Maintain Your Tires
As seasons change, so does your tire pressure. If this pressure goes unmonitored, your tires will see premature wear or replacement. To avoid this, read below for tips on how to get the most out of your tires:
1. Check your tire pressure on a monthly basis:
Cool nights can make tire pressure drop overnight as the air inside compresses. As the temperature warms up during the day, the air inside your tires will expand. This can cause your tire light (see below) to illuminate on your dashboard and will do so if the pressure drops under 3PSI from the factory recommended inflation. Over or under inflated tires can cause both the inside and outside of your tires to wear prematurely. It can also cause loss of traction, leading to a decreased fuel economy.
2. Where can I find the factory recommend pressure?
The recommended tire pressure can be found in the owner’s manual or on the inside of the driver’s side door Pillar (see below) – DO NOT refer to the rating on your tire. Since the tires on your vehicle are fit for other vehicle types, it states the maximum inflation that specific tire can handle.
3. What if I have nitrogen in my tires?
If you have a green cap on the end of your valve stem (see below), you have nitrogen in your tires. If your tire light illuminates, you can add up to 7 PSI of compressed air into a nitrogen filled tire without affecting the chemical balance. Anything over 7 PSI requires your tires to be taken off, deflated and re-inflated by your service department.
4. What are the advantages of using nitrogen vs. compressed air?
Nitrogen is not affected by outside temperatures like regular compressed air due to the chemical balance. It also does not allow for condensation build up inside the tires which can corrode aluminum and steel wheels. The condensation that occurs with regular compressed air can also separate the sealant between the rim and the tire, causing a slow loss of air over time. Therefore, nitrogen is the better option for your tires but does incur an added cost.
5. Have your alignment inspected semi-annually:
To ensure even wear of your tires, you should have your alignment inspected semi-annually – a good habit being the spring and the fall. Drivers are more apt to hit pot holes in the summer and drive through rough conditions in the winter. In fact, driving over just one pot hole can shift your alignment causing your tires to wear prematurely.
Tires are the most expensive items to maintain and replace next to your brakes. Therefore, it is important to maintain your tires to avoid premature replacement or severe vehicle damage.
Written by: Amanda