A vehicle’s tires play an essential role in the safety of its occupants. The only link between you and the road, they support the weight of the vehicle, absorb bumps, transmit traction and braking and maintain constant adherence to the pavement. However, many drivers neglect to verify the pressure and condition of their tires. What should you do to maintain the performance of your vehicle, while also saving money, not only on your next set of tires, but also at the gas pump?
Tire pressure changes everything!
First of all, make sure that your tires are properly inflated at all times. The recommended pressure for your tires is indicated in the owner manual or on a sticker located on the frame of your vehicle. If a tire is under-inflated, the sides become prematurely worn, making it sag. As a result, a larger surface of the tire comes into contact with the road, producing friction and heat. If your tires squeal when going around curves, this is a warning sign of low air pressure.
On the other hand, if a tire is over-inflated, its contact with the road is diminished. The result is reduced traction and increased braking distance. The vehicle also seems unstable. What’s more, you’ll feel every bump in the road, not to mention the fact that the middle of the tire will become worn much more quickly. That’s why it’s so important to keep your tires at the recommended pressure to extend their life and ensure that your vehicle operates at optimum safety and power.
How often should tires be replaced?
The SAAQ (Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec) allows a vehicle to be on the road as long as it has a minimum tire tread depth of 1/16 of an inch. However, it is recommended that you replace your summer tires once they get down to 1/8 of an inch and your winter tires once they get down to 5/32, as traction is significantly reduced below these levels.
Another problem is poor alignment of the vehicle, which can cause your tires to wear unevenly. In fact, a tire that’s slightly out of alignment due to the vehicle’s camber will suffer “saw-tooth” wear, which increases the vehicle’s friction on the pavement. In general, you will be aware of a constant thudding sound in the passenger compartment at speeds over 50 km/h. This kind of wear and tear is also perceptible to the touch. Unfortunately, since it’s impossible to repair tires that have been damaged in this way, it’s important to align your vehicle at least once a year to prevent it from happening.
Did you know that the rolling resistance of your tires can account for up to 20 percent of your fuel consumption? Just one more reason to properly maintain your tires. Whether you want to maintain your vehicle’s performance, increase the safety of the occupants or save money, it’s important to check your tire pressure regularly, to have the manufacturer-recommended vehicle maintenance performed and to be on the lookout for any changes in your vehicle’s behavior. Do you have questions regarding maintenance on your Ford vehicle or truck? Contact us or stop by Solution Ford in Châteauguay, and one of our experts will be able to provide you with all the answers.