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What is Proper Maintenance for Car Tires?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 23, 2024
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Many drivers fail to realize the importance of the tires they drive on, and are surprised when they fail or require replacement. In fact, proper tire maintenance is crucial to vehicle safety and durability; and when done properly, it extends the life of the tires too. There are a few basic steps involved in tire maintenance, and important precautions which all drivers should follow to improve the life of their tires, along with their personal safety. There is no hard and fast rule of thumb on how long tires will last, primarily because this greatly depends on how the car is driven, where it is driven, and the level of maintenance performed. Generally under optimum circumstances, drivers should replace their tires every four to five years.

The first step in tire maintenance is selecting the right type. Drivers should always use the type of tire recommended for their vehicle. This information is usually listed in the owner's manual and inside the door. If you are unsure, check with a mechanic to be sure that you are purchasing the right tire. Once your tires have been installed, you are responsible for keeping them in good shape by checking their inflation frequently and periodically rotating them.

Tire pressure is also very important. Many drivers check the inflation of their tires every time they get fuel, which is an excellent idea because if the pressure is low, the gas station provides compressed air for inflation. All vehicles have a recommended inflation level listed inside the door, and all tires have an inflation rating which drivers should check as well. The recommended inflation is based on the load limit rating for that model of car, and it is important to make sure that your car's recommended load limit is not exceeded as well.

Additionally, you should make sure that your car is properly aligned, having the alignment checked when you change the oil and after an accident of any size. A car that is out of alignment will wear tires unevenly, ultimately causing damage. The wheels may also need to be balanced, especially if you notice shuddering or jimmying at high rates of speed. Bad shock absorbers and struts can affect tire wear.

Additionally, drivers should be cautious about the surfaces they drive on and reckless driving. In addition to being dangerous, reckless driving is very demanding on tires and will lead to a need for replacement. Hot roads, heavily pockmarked or potholed roads, and roads undergoing resurfacing will cause your car's alignment to slip in addition to damaging tires. If you drive in difficult conditions frequently, you should have the alignment checked frequently as well, and correct the alignment if necessary. In some areas, drivers align their cars two or more times a year due to bad roads.

WikiMotors is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WikiMotors researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By Laotionne — On Dec 11, 2014

My car jumps out of alignment almost every time I hit a pot hole or go over train tracks a little too fast. For a time, this made keeping the car in alignment expensive and this took a toll on my tires since I had to wait sometimes until I saved enough money to get it aligned again.

Then I heard about a lifetime alignment policy some of the local garages were offering. Now that I have one of these, I can get the car realigned whenever I need to without having to pay more money.

By Drentel — On Dec 10, 2014

When I was in college I had this old car that was held together with duct tape and prayer. The car was great considering how many miles it had been driven and how little I had paid for it, but the thing had definitely seen better days.

There came a point when the front right tire started wearing out at an alarming rate. I always bought used tires back then, so rather than trying to get the car repaired so that it was not wearing out the tire, I simply bought a cheap used tire when all of the tread wore away from the tire on the car.

I did this for two years until there came a point when I was replacing the tire every month or so. Fortunately, the used tires were cheap, and I was able to keep the car on the road until I finally was able to replace it with another old car, but not as old as the one it replaced.

By Feryll — On Dec 09, 2014

I didn't know that keeping the air pressure so close to the suggested pressure was so important. Until I bought the vehicle I have now, which lets me know the pressure of each one of my tires at all times, I never paid attention to tire pressure except when the tires were noticeably low on air.

Even with the constant readings of air pressure, I am still not as conscientious as I could be about maintaining the right air pressure. This could be one of the reasons my tires seem to wear out before they should.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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