Tire Safety

Proper tire care and safety is simple and easy. The Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) recommends getting in the habit of taking five minutes every month to check your tires, including the spare.

Pressure: Under inflation results in unnecessary tire stress, irregular wear, loss of control and accidents. A tire can lose up to half of its inflation pressure and not appear to be flat.
How to Check Tire Pressure

Check Your Tire Pressure

It's important to have the proper air pressure in your tires, as underinflation may lead to tire failure. The right amount of air for your tires is specified by the vehicle manufacturer and is shown on the vehicle door edge, door post, glove box door or fuel door. It is also listed in the owner's manual.

  1. When you check the air pressure, make sure the tires are cool - meaning they are not hot from driving even a mile. (NOTE: If you have to drive a distance to get air, check and record the tire pressure first and add the appropriate air pressure when you get to the pump. It is normal for tires to heat up and the air pressure inside to go up as you drive. Never "bleed" or reduce air pressure when tires are hot.)

  2. Remove the cap from the valve on one tire.

  3. Firmly press a tire gauge onto the valve.

  4. Add air to achieve recommended air pressure.

  5. If you overfill the tire, release air by pushing on the metal stem in the center of the valve with a fingernail or the tip of a pen. Then recheck the pressure with your tire gauge.

  6. Replace the valve cap.

  7. Repeat with each tire, including the spare. (NOTE: Some spare tires require higher inflation pressure.)

  8. Visually inspect the tires to make sure there are no nails or other objects embedded that could poke a hole in the tire and cause an air leak.

  9. Check the sidewalls to make sure there are no gouges, cuts, bulges or other irregularities. NOTE: Air pressure in a tire goes up (in warm weather) or down (in cold weather) 1-2 pounds for every 10 degrees of temperature change.

Alignment: A bad jolt from hitting a curb or pothole can throw your front end out of alignment and damage your tires. Have a tire dealer check the alignment periodically to ensure that your car is properly aligned.
Learn More About Your Alignment

Tire Alignment

Misalignment of wheels in the front or rear can cause uneven and rapid treadwear and should be corrected by a tire dealer. Front-wheel-drive vehicles, and those with independent rear suspension, require alignment of all four wheels. Have your alignment checked periodically as specified by the vehicles' owners manual or whenever you have an indication of trouble such as "pulling" or vibration.

Also have your tire balance checked periodically. An unbalanced tire and wheel assembly may result in irregular wear.

Rotation: Regularly rotating your vehicle's tires will help you achieve more uniform wear. Unless your vehicle's owners manual has a specific recommendation, the guideline for tire rotation is approximately every 5,000 miles.
Details on Rotating Your Tires

Rotating Your Tires

Sometimes irregular tire wear can be corrected by rotating your tires. Consult your vehicle's owners manual, the tire manufacturer or your tire dealer for the appropriate rotation pattern for your vehicle.

NOTE: If your tires show uneven wear, ask your tire dealer to check for and correct any misalignment, imbalance or other mechanical problem involved before rotation.

Before rotating your tires, always refer to your car's owner's manual for rotation recommendations. If no rotation period is specified, tires should be rotated approximately every 5,000 miles.

Tread: Advanced and unusual wear can reduce the ability of tread to grip the road in adverse conditions. Visually check your tires for uneven wear, looking for high and low areas or unusually smooth areas. Also check for signs of damage.
How to Check Tread

Checking Your Tread

Tires must be replaced when the tread is worn down to 2/32 of an inch in order to prevent skidding and hydroplaning. An easy test: place a penny into a tread groove. If part of Lincoln's head is covered by the tread, you're driving with the proper amount of tread. If you can see all of his head, you should buy a new tire.

Built-in treadwear indicators, or "wear bars," which look like narrow strips of smooth rubber across the tread will appear on the tire when the tread is worn down to one-sixteenth of an inch. When you see these "wear bars," the tire is worn out and should be replaced.

Visually check your tires for signs of uneven wear. You may have irregular tread wear if there are high and low areas or unusually smooth areas. Consult your tire dealer as soon as possible.

Recommended frequency for visual inspection and inflation pressure check of all our tires and the spare: Once a month and before every trip. More Facts
Sources: National Highway Safety Administration, Rubber Manufacturers Association

Winter Driving Tip

Before the snow arrives, make sure you and your tires prepared. Read More →

The Rubber Manufacturers Association has launched its national driver education tire safety curriculum. The curriculum, developed by RMA for use in driver education courses, will be distributed free of charge to public and private high schools and independent driving schools throughout the United States.

The curriculum is designed to show students the simple steps of proper tire maintenance to help them become safe and successful operators of motor vehicles. The educational program uses activity sheets to address basic tire care and maintenance issues related to pressure, alignment, rotation and tread.

poster-download   teacher-resources   student-resources

The Rubber Manufacturers Association cautions that used passenger and light truck tires that have an uncertain or unknown history pose a potential risk.  This pertains to used tires purchased as replacement tires or as equipped on a used vehicle. Used tires may have been exposed to improper service, maintenance or storage conditions and may have been damaged, which could eventually lead to tire failure. RMA has a tire industry service bulletin that lists a series of conditions under which a used tire should never be installed on a vehicle.

Get more used tire resources

Knowing the difference between a proper tire repair and an improper tire repair could be critical to vehicle safety.  An improper tire repair could pose a safety hazard to you and your family and could also affect a tire manufacturer’s warranty.

Click here to learn more about proper puncture repair