Preparing your car tires for a summer road trip - HMS National, Inc.

Preparing your car tires for a summer road trip

June 10, 2014

If you're hitting the beach this weekend or heading up north for some hiking, odds are you're sure to bring everything you need for your day trip so that's it's an enjoyable one. But there's one thing that almost everyone forgets to include in their to-do lists - checking their tires.

Did you know that only 1 in 6 Americans checks their tire pressure on a regular basis? According to the Rubber Manufacturers Association, you should examine your car's tire pressure ideally once a month. But apparently, this seems to be slipping the minds of many of today's motorists, and if one or several tires is under inflated or worn, it can increase the risk of getting into an accident.

As more people hit the road for summer vacations, the RMA and auto mechanics everywhere are encouraging you to do your "part" by making it a habit to examine your tires. This mnemonic device can help you establish a routine:

1. P is for Pressure. Every tire has a happy medium in which it operates best. Due to weather and wear and tear, however, air is released over time. You can buy an inexpensive tire gauge to keep on hand or use one built into air machines at gas stations, and use it monthly to see how much air pressure is in your four tires. Inflate to the recommended level, which should be listed on the sidewalls of the tires or in the owner's manual.

2. A is for Alignment. Tires that are properly aligned will prevent the car from drifting left or right. You may have found, though, when your hands are on the wheel that you have to apply some slight pressure to keep the car straight, not veering over the center line. This is an indication that the wheels are out of alignment. Explain the problem to your mechanic. They should take of this issue for you.

3. R is for Rotation. Certainly you know that today's highways and back roads are far from perfect, dotted with tons of potholes and bumps along the way. This has an impact on the tires by wearing portions of them down at a faster clip than others. To keep wear uniform, your tires should be rotated every 5,000 to 8,000 miles.

4. T is for Tread. What gives your wheels grip is tread, those little grooves that line the outside of tires. If the tires appear bald or worn, it may be time to have them replaced. You can tell by inserting a penny upside down in between one of the grooves. If you can the top of Abe Lincoln's head, it's a good indication the tires should be swapped out.

The information in these articles is intended to provide guidance on the proper maintenance and care of systems and appliances in the home. Not all of the topics mentioned are covered by our home warranty or maintenance plans. Please review your home warranty contract carefully to understand your coverage.