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Are your tires ready for a road trip?
The highways are busy this time of the year with summer travelers, but you're bound to see many stuck along the side of the road with a flat tire.
It's an important reminder to stay on top of your tires, checking to make sure you won't be at risk.
“Being proactive with tire maintenance now can improve safety and save money in the long run,” said Keith Barry, autos editor for Consumer Reports.
You need to check your tire pressure at least once a week. You can’t tell just by looking at them. You need a proper pressure gauge. Don’t fill them to the maximum pressure listed on the side of the tire. Look inside the driver’s door for the proper pressure.
And don’t rely on a tire pressure indicator on your dashboard. It may not tell you if you’re running at optimum pressure.
"The tire pressure monitoring sensor will not trip unless it's 25 per cent over or under the recommended air pressure,” said Kyle Lewarne of Kal Tire.
An underinflated tire can lead to premature wear and reduce the life of your tire by up to a year. Driving on underinflated tires can cause them to crumble from the inside out. It also can cause sloppy handling and poor performance on the road, poor gas mileage and even increased risk of a blowout.
An overinflated tire can also cause the tire to crown and wear down the tread. It may also cause some drivers to oversteer, since there is less contact with the road. An overinflated tire can also lead to an increased risk of a blowout in warmer temperatures.
“You’re going to want to inspect all four of your tires to check for any cuts, cracks, blisters or any damage from hitting pothole or a curb,” said Barry.
Try a toonie to check the tread. New tread should come up to the bear’s claw. A tire that’s been driven on should at least cover part of the word "dollars." If it doesn’t, it’s worn out.
And don’t forget to look to see if your vehicle has a spare. Many new cars carry a run flat tire that’s designed for short distances at slower speeds, just to get you to the nearest repair shop.
You may also want to carry foam tire sealant and a portable pump with you.
Also, it’s recommended you practice changing a tire at home in your driveway before heading out.