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Tire Safety Tip #1: Check tire pressure once a month

Welcome to a new series of posts on Tire Blog which will include an ongoing list of the most important tire safety tips. The first tip in this series is simple, easily overlooked, but very important: Make sure you check your tire pressure at least once per month.

underinflated-tiresMaintaining proper inflation of your tires is critical to ensuring that they can do their jobs effectively. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, underinflation is the number one cause of tire failure that results in auto accidents. Your tires may lose pressure for any number of reasons, including the natural leakage of compressed air through the porous tire membrane. Tire pressure can also decrease in cold weather or as a result of structural damage to the tire itself.

An underinflated tire will not provide the level of crisp handling that it is designed for. Over time the tread will begin to wear out unevenly, and if not remedied quickly, the tire may become unsuitable for driving. Due to all of the safety concerns involved with properly inflating¬† and maintaining your tires, it’s essential that you keep an eye on tire pressure and use a gauge to check air levels at least once a month. If you are planning on taking a trip over 200 miles, it’s recommended that you inflate your tires before you set out on your journey.


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How cold weather affects your tires

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When cold weather comes around, it’s important to pay careful attention to your tires, especially your tire pressure, to avoid unsafe conditions before they develop. Aside from bumpy roads, ice, and fresh potholes, cold weather also threatens the integrity of your tires by causing the air inside to contract – 1 PSI for each 10 degree drop in temperature. It may not sound like much, but if your tire air pressure was low to begin with, the cold can exacerbate the problem.

When the weather gets really frigid and temperatures dip below zero, make sure to check the rim of your tires where the rubber meets metal. At these temperatures, the tire stiffens and the seal at this juncture begins to loosen.¬† Some people report completely flat tires with no evidence of structural damage to the tire and wonder what happened. It’s likely that cold weather allowed air to escape through this loosened seal.

Aluminum alloy wheels are the most likely victims of cold weather tire pressure drops, and unfortunately, they are the kind used on most vehicles today. It’s a bit harder to get a proper seal when constructing an aluminum alloy wheel to begin with, and it’s even harder once road salt and other debris begins to eat away at the metal. Once this happens, air is more likely to leak out of tiny gaps created on the chipped surface of the wheel. Of course, hitting winter potholes doesn’t make matters any better!

To combat tire damage and deflation during cold weather, make sure to keep a constant eye on your tire pressure. When temperatures drop below zero, check the seals on the tires to make sure they aren’t allowing any air to leak out. If you do discover a leak, it might be a good idea to purchase snow tires, which not only help with traction on icy roads in the winter, but are better at dealing with the rocky road conditions you’re likely to encounter.

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