Tire maintenance and inspection

Tire maintenance is a must-know skill for all car owners and an essential aspect of vehicle upkeep. By inspecting and maintaining tires regularly, you can reduce premature and uneven wear but also improve safety in traffic. Regular tire maintenance helps you identify when to replace your tires and get a new set of high-quality tires for your vehicle. When your old tires have reached the end of their service life, visit your local Nokian Tyres dealer and find the right tires for your vehicle.

Why is tire maintenance important

The benefits of regular tire inspection and maintenance are many. When done properly, taking care of your tires benefits you, other people in traffic and even the environment. Some benefits of tire maintenance include:

  • Improved safety. Well-maintained tires provide better grip and handling, reducing the risk of accidents.
  • Increased fuel efficiency. Under and overinflated tires can increase the tires’ rolling resistance and, therefore, your fuel consumption. Smoothly rolling tires are better for the environment and your wallet, thanks to reduced fuel consumption.
  • Extended tire lifespan. Regular maintenance extends the lifespan of your tires, so you’ll save even more when you don’t need to buy new tires as often.
  • Better driving experience. Well-maintained tires perform better, which makes handling more stable and predictable. Lower tire noise is another aspect of driving comfort.

Tips for regular tire inspection and maintenance

Proper tire maintenance involves various aspects of your tire, including tire pressure, tread depth, and how your tires are stored. Here are some of the most important ones to check regularly.

Tire Pressure

Correct tire pressure is vital for vehicle safety, performance, and fuel efficiency. It is hard to tell whether your tires are properly inflated just by looking at them, so make checking the proper tire pressure a monthly routine using a pressure gauge. Make sure to check the tire pressure before long trips as well. You can usually find a tire gauge at a service or gas station. Learn more about tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) here.

Underinflation can lead to poor fuel economy and premature tire wear, while overinflation can lead to decreased traction and increased risk of tire damage. Even when your tires are underinflated or nearly flat, it can be difficult to feel it on the road. If you have been driving with underinflated tires, there might even be damage to the inner parts of the tire you cannot see.

The correct air pressure recommended for your tires can vary depending on the type of vehicle, so refer to your vehicle's manual for guidance. Remember that temperature changes can affect tire pressure. You should check your tire pressure when tires are cold – in other words before you’ve driven on them. Driving even a short distance causes tires to heat up and air pressure to increase.

Regularly monitor tire pressure

Tire Rotation

Tire rotation involves moving tires from one position on the vehicle to another to ensure more even tire wear. We recommend rotating your tires every 4,000–6,000 miles for optimal performance. Tire rotation patterns vary depending on your vehicle. For example, you can rotate your tires by changing their position from the rear axle to the front. Signs that it's time for a tire rotation include uneven tire wear and vibration at high speeds.

Tire Tread Depth

Tire tread depth plays a significant role in vehicle safety and performance, particularly in wet conditions. As your tires wear in use, the tread pattern’s depth is reduced, leading to less grip and traction on the road.  You can measure your tire's tread depth using a tread depth gauge or a coin. The minimum legal tread depth is 2/32 of an inch. If your tires are below this threshold, or if they show signs of uneven wear, it's time for a replacement. Remember to check all four tires regularly for uneven tread wear.

Preventing Uneven Tire Wear

Uneven tire wear is a common issue resulting from misalignment, improper inflation, or lack of rotation. You can identify uneven tire wear by visually inspecting your tires for uneven patterns. If detected, it's essential to address the underlying cause and replace the tires if necessary. In addition to improved safety on the road, even tread wear ensures a longer service life for your tires.

Additional Tire Maintenance Tips

In addition to these tire maintenance tips, follow this advice to ensure the best possible experience with your vehicle’s tires:

  • Storage. Storing your tires indoors in proper conditions can help extend tire life and prevent their quality from degrading.
  • Wheel alignment and balancing. Correcting misalignment and balancing can contribute to more even tire wear and improved vehicle handling.
  • Visual inspections. Check the tires for any visible damage or foreign objects lodged in the tires and remove them when necessary.
  • Driving habits. Aggressive driving, such as sudden braking and acceleration, can lead to faster tire wear.
  • Correct tire type. Using the right tires for the season enhances vehicle performance and safety. Use tires rated for winter driving if you encounter snow and extreme weather conditions (winter tires or Nokian Tyres all weather tires).
  • Tire age. Even if your tires are not worn out, they should be replaced every six to ten years due to age and potential rubber degradation.
  • Spare tire. Make sure to inspect your spare tire as well by adjusting its tire pressure and checking its tread depth and manufacture date, whether you have a full-sized spare or a miniature.

Ignoring regular tire maintenance can lead to higher fuel consumption and even damage, such as a flat tire when driving with improper air pressure. You also get to enjoy driving longer with the same set of tires when taking care of them. However, no tire lasts forever, so change to high-quality premium tires once it’s time for a new set. Find the right set of all season tires, all weather tires, all terrain tires, or winter tires for your vehicle from a Nokian Tyres dealer location near you.

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