Summer is here, bringing a sense of excitement and the promise of adventure. Excitement and adventure are not the only things that Summer brings. It also brings danger as millions of Americans take to the roads. Each year, thousands of people are seriously injured and killed in accidents on the roadways. Not all accidents can be avoided, but some can. There is a simple step that can add a layer of protection to your travel plans.
When driving your vehicle, there is one thing between you and the road: your tires. Before embarking on an adventure, make sure your tires are in good condition and properly inflated. Inspect your tires for the proper amount of tread and wear, along with ensuring there are no cracks in the rubber. Another consideration is rotating your tires. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) the tires on most vehicles should be rotated every 5,000 – 8,000 miles.
Now that your tires are rotated and visually inspected, it’s time to check the tire pressure. Improper inflation not only increases the chance of a blowout, but also decreases fuel economy. The NHTSA states that fuel economy decreases by .03% for every pound drop in pressure. The good news is that checking the tire pressure on your vehicle is simple. First you will need to consult the vehicle owner’s manual in order to know the proper PSI (pounds per square inch) for your specific vehicle.
Next, locate the valve stem on your tire and twist the cap off. Use a tire pressure gauge and press the gauge into the valve stem, ensuring that it seals. Many gauges have a small bar that will pop out of the end. This will tell you how much pressure is in your tire (if you have a digital or dial gauge, follow the manufacturer’s instructions). If your tire is overinflated, use the tire pressure gauge and press on the stem to release the excess air. Continue releasing the air until the correct pressure is reached.
If your tires are under inflated, park at an air dispenser. Air dispensers can be found at most gas stations and truck stops. Locate the valve on your tire and remove the cap. Use the air hose to add air to your tire, until the correct pressure is reached.
Road safety is vitally important. Take time to read and follow the proper safety steps in accordance with the operator’s manual for your specific vehicle. If you do not have a manual, you can download one from the website of the manufacturer of your vehicle. By putting safety first, you can protect not only the lives of those you love, but also the lives of those traveling around you. You can also save time and money.
For more information on tire maintenance and safety, got to the NHTSA website at: https://www.nhtsa.gov/equipment/tires