Fall Driving Tips

Be Tire Smart This Fall!

As temperatures drop this season, it’s time to Be Tire Smart!

Special attention should be paid to the tread on your tires. The gray, rainy days that mark fall in many parts of the country create a particular driving risk. Without sufficient tread depth, your vehicle can’t properly grip the road.  Under wet weather conditions, insufficient tread depth can cause a vehicle can hydroplane — skim over the surface of the road with little or no traction, which can lead to a crash. So check your tread. All you need is a Lincoln penny.

Insert Abe’s head into the tread in a couple of spots on each tire. If you can see the entire top of his head, your tread is less that one-sixteenth of an inch deep – below the level where you can count on it in slippery conditions. It should be replaced.

While you’re administering the Abe test to your tires, take a good look at them. Any signs of uneven tread wear? That could mean a number of different problems – under inflation, tires out of balance, or wheels out of alignment. If you can tell that your tread is wearing unevenly on some of your tires, ask your dealer to take a look. He can correct a problem before it causes trouble. If you don’t rotate your tires every 5,000 miles or so, you should get into the habit. The forces exerted on tires differ, depending on the tire’s position on the car, and wear patterns may differ. Front wheels work harder because they do the turning and most of the braking. And rear wheels can be unevenly loaded.

Tires have “wear bars” built into them. These are indicators that appear when you have worn your tread down to the limit. Don’t neglect the signals your tires are sending you. Be Tire Smart – Play Your Part!

And as always – once a month for sure – check your tire air pressure with an accurate tire gauge. You can’t tell if a tire needs air just by looking. It could be 50 percent under inflated and still look fine. The most serious consequence of riding on an underinflated tire is heat buildup caused by the increased flexing of a tire that isn’t as firm as it should be. Driving on underinflated or overloaded tires at high speeds over long distances – for instance, driving on the highway – can lead to tire failure.

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