4 Important tire safety checks you're skipping

Apr 17, 2014 at 12:00 p.m. ET

Maintaining proper tire care is a crucial safety issue, but chances are, you're skipping at least one of the routine safety checks you should be performing. Here's how to keep your family safe while on the road.

Woman checking tire pressure | Sheknows.com
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How many of us wait a little — or a lot — longer than we should between oil changes? Or don't immediately run to the repair shop when that check engine light comes on? Safety experts say one area you should never neglect is your tires.

Tire maintenance is an important safety function that is often neglected by drivers, but doing so can cause accidents and even be deadly. Here are four important tire safety checks you're likely skipping and why you shouldn't be.


Inflate your wallet

Think you can tell if a tire is under-inflated just by looking at it? Not so fast. In fact, Tiffane Thompson, country operations manager for Michelin North America, says if it actually looks under-inflated, it is severely under-inflated.

"Check the pressure when the tires are cold — first thing in the morning is best," she advises. "Many gas stations have free tire pressure gauges and air-filling facilities."

Why is tire inflation important to keep tabs on? "Under-inflated tires will make your tire wear unevenly and negatively impact performance," Thompson says. It can also put more change back in your pocket. Thompson says keeping your tire pressure at the recommended level can boost fuel efficiency by one mile per gallon.


Rotate before you go

When's the last time you had your tires rotated? If you can't remember, chances are it's been too long. Tires should be rotated every 6,000 to 8,000 miles, and if you have a full-size spare, it should be included in the rotation process, Thompson said.

"Regular rotation helps extend the life of your tires, saving time and money in the long run," she said. Three great reasons not to skip this safety check.


Bald isn't beautiful

Want to know more information about how to check your tire's tread? Check out this video, courtesy of CarMD.com.

Bald is not always beautiful — especially when it comes to tires. Lack of tread affects a tire's road-gripping ability, so this is one safety check you won't want to skip. The penny test is one of the most common tests for measuring this. With Lincoln's head upside down, place the penny between the tread blocks. If you can see the top of Lincoln's head, it's time for new tires.


Straighten up

Proper tire alignment provides safe, predictable vehicle control, and for moms, safety is the number one concern for our families. So next time you get in the car, make sure your tires are on the right track.

Be Honest

What safety checks do you skimp on?

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