Where the Rubber Meets the Road

carsThe tires on your car can be easy to overlook. They are the only part of your vehicle that comes in direct contact with the road. As a result, they generally take a lot more wear and tear than any other part of your car. Tires affect almost every aspect of your vehicle. Vehicle handling, braking, ride, safety and more are all affected by the condition of those four hunks of rubber. From unblemished Houston windshields that provide good visibility, to safe tires, it is important that you inspect your tires so you will stay safe when the rubber meets the road.

Monthly tire inspections are recommended as an important step toward protecting your automotive investment and your personal safety on the road. To ensure optimum performance, the tires on your vehicle should have proper air pressure, balance, wheel alignment and tread depth. While monthly inspections are recommended, Houston mobile windshield repair experts suggest those who drive in cold climates or areas with a lot of rough terrain, debris or potholes should perform a tire inspection more often. Individuals who regularly drive long distances should also check their tires more often. You should always inspect the tires on your vehicle before leaving on a long trip.

What to Look For

Under inflation – Tires that are under inflated create undo wear on the edges of the tire treads because the outer edges will endure the most contact with the road.

Over inflation – Tires with too much air pressure cause the middle of the treads to endure the most contact with the road, thus wearing down the center of the treads at a faster rate.

Partially raised tread – A tire that has a partially raised tread or sidewall may mean that a belt in the tire carcass has become separated.

Cupping – Cupping, or erratic wear on the treads, could be an indication that the suspension components or shock absorbers need changing. It could also mean the wheels are not aligned properly.

Vibration – While driving, you should also look for a thumping or vibration that could indicate one or more tires that are out of balance.

Pulling – Another thing to keep an eye out for while driving is a pull of the vehicle to one side. This may mean you have a damaged or under inflated tire. Improper wheel alignment or a problem with the brakes may also cause your car to pull to one side.

The Quarter and Penny Tests

While a tread depth gauge obtained from a parts store will provide you with the most accurate measurements, Houston windshield replacement professionals want their customers to be aware of other methods to check tread depth measurements in the event that a gauge in unavailable.

The quarter and penny test methods are simple ways to test your tire tread depth in a fix. Maybe you have lost your gauge or you simply cannot get to it at the moment. No problem. Grab a penny or quarter and simply insert it into one of the grooves on the tire tread. Make sure the top of Lincoln’s head is facing downward. If using a quarter, check Mr. Washington’s head. If the top of his head is not visible, your tires have good tread depth. However, if you see above the top of his head, you should start looking for replacements. The penny test is done the same way. If you see above Mr. Lincoln’s head, however, your tire tread is under the legal limit and should be replaced immediately.

In addition to regular tread inspections, you should also check tire pressure at least once a month with a gauge. Proper maintenance is also important to prevent undo wear and tear on your vehicle and tires. Tire maintenance procedures include tire rotation, balancing and wheel alignment. A few minutes each month is all it takes to help ensure the safety of your family when the rubber meets the road.

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