A flat tire is never fun to deal with. We're here to provide information that will be helpful to you when it's time to replace your tires.
There are several types of tires to choose from:
Most vehicles come with all-season tires. It's perfectly fine to keep these on your vehicle, but if you drive in the snow quite a bit, you may want to consider winter tires, also known as snow tires. You'll get much better traction on snow and ice with winter tires than with all-season tires. You shouldn't keep winter tires on your vehicle year-round, though, because as the weather warms up, they don't perform as well as all-season or summer tires.
Whichever tire you choose, make sure they are the correct size for your vehicle!
When it's time to replace a tire, you can either take it in to a professional, or do it yourself. If you do it yourself, you will need: a jack, a wrench, and a spare tire or your new tire. It's also helpful to have a heavy object such as bricks to place in front of your tires so that your vehicle doesn't roll away. Follow these steps to replace your tire:
If you used a spare tire, take your old tire to a mechanic to see if it can be patched up, or if you need to replace it completely. You shouldn't drive more than about 50 miles on a spare tire.
If you experience a tire blowout while you're on the road, don't immediately slam on your brakes. Instead, hold the steering wheel firmly and keep the car going straight. Slow down gradually by taking your foot off the gas pedal, but do not apply the brakes. When your car has slowed down, pull off the road to a safe place and apply the brakes when the car is almost stopped.
If your car starts to skid, it is very important not to slam on the brakes. Instead, take your foot off the gas pedal and the brake pedal. Don’t panic. You don’t want to mistakenly make a fast turn from the direction of the skid or steer too much, causing a spin. Instead, turn your steering wheel in the direction of the skid and then straighten the wheels.
If your vehicle has an anti-lock brake system (ABS), keep your foot on the brake pedal, maintaining firm and continuous pressure, while steering normally. Don’t pump the brakes. Don’t be frightened if you hear a mechanical sound or noise, and feel vibration or increased resistance in the brake pedal; that means your ABS is working. If you can, try to stop in a safe place off the road, then call for assistance.
Luckily, there are some strategies to make sure you don't get a flat tire on the road.
Always check around the vehicle as you approach it. If you park in a garage, open the garage door before your check around to help avoid surprises once you open that door. Look around the outside of your vehicle for sharp items on the ground, such as broken glass (from car windows, lights, etc.), nails or screws (these could easily be forgotten on the floor of your garage after a project), or other debris that could interfere with movement or puncture your tires.
Both overinflating and underinflating your tires can be dangerous. Improperly-inflated tires can reduce traction, increase the likelihood of skidding, reduce the handling characteristics of your vehicle, and lead to your tires wearing out too quickly.
It's pretty easy to check your tire pressure on your own at home. Buy an air gauge and keep it in your vehicle so it's always handy. Place the air gauge onto the valve stem on your tire, then adjust the gauge until you stop hearing the sound of air leaving your tire. The gauge will tell you what your current PSI is in that tire.
Check your vehicle's owner manual to find out the recommended PSI for your tires. You may have a sticker inside the driver's side door that shows the recommended PSI as well. The recommended PSI will often be different for front and rear tires. Be sure to check all four tires and your spare.
You should check the air pressure in your tires frequently. Check the pressure when the tires are cool, because air condenses as the temperature falls. If your tires are warm, the pressure may read higher than when the tires are cool.
Rotating your tires helps your tires wear evenly and can prolong their life. Evenly-worn tires boost your fuel economy and improve your traction. During tire rotation, each tire is removed from your car and rotated to a different position on your vehicle. For example, your front right tire may be rotated to the left rear axle of your vehicle. Tire rotation should be done in intervals and according to the specifications of the manufacturer, which can be found in your owner's manual. However, a good rule of thumb is to rotate them every time you have your oil changed.
Tires don't last forever. Over time, tires lose their treads, which help keep traction on the road. Poor tires, or tires without tread, are dangerous. Check your vehicle's owner manual for the recommended timetable for when you should replace your tires.
Check the condition of your tires regularly. Look for obvious signs of distress like tread wear, damage, or bars showing. Search for bald spots and cuffing (uneven wear on the inside or outside tread areas), as well as cuts, stones, metal fragments or other damage. Make sure your tires are safe and whole before you drive away on them.
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