As the holidays draw near, you might have your sights set on time away from work, get-togethers with friends, and seasonal treats—instead of more mundane topics like car maintenance. However, ignoring things like your car tires could land you in trouble when you get on the road, which could end up costing you more time and money down the road. Here are two hidden villains that could be destroying your car's tires, and how to prevent problems in the first place.
1. Long Road Trips
Before you hop in your car for a long road trip to visit friends and family, you should think about what it might do to your car. In addition to putting a few extra miles on the engine, long road trips can be exceptionally hard on car tires, especially since tires are only meant to last for so many miles. For example, if you live in Dallas, Texas, and you decide to visit your Grandma in Salt Lake City, Utah during Christmas, making that drive will put at least 2,000 miles on your car's tires—not to mention subjecting them to the rigors of wintertime driving.
Long road trips are also problematic if your tires are suffering from undiagnosed issues before you leave. For example, if your car has an alignment issue, the tires might wear unevenly when exposed to all the extra mileage at once. Small weak spots in the tire body could also lead to tire ruptures, which could leave you stranded in an unfamiliar area.
To prevent these kinds of problems, have your tires inspected carefully before you leave on your trip. Tires need a certain amount of tread in order to maintain a strong grip on the road. For example, most tires need at least 2/32nds of an inch of tread to do their job properly. To check your tire tread, insert a penny between your tire treads with the top of Lincoln's head pointing towards the tire. If you can see Lincoln's entire head from the side of the tire, your tread is too low and it is time to have your wheels replaced. If you aren't comfortable checking your tire tread depth on your own, visit a tire mechanic who will use more accurate measurement equipment.
2. Uneven Weight Distribution
Filling up your trunk with surprise gifts for family members might make you feel like Santa Claus, but it might also cause uneven weight distribution between the front and back of your car. Although most people don't think about it, every car has a payload maximum, and this weight should be evenly distributed between the front and back tires. Otherwise, the tires will wear unevenly, causing them to wear out much faster than the other wheels of your car.
For example, filling your trunk with heavy luggage, gifts, or furniture could make your back tires wear much faster than the front tires. Similar problems can occur if you frequently drive a friend or family member who weighs a lot more than the other passengers in the car. For example, if your spouse outweighs you by a hundred pounds, the wheel that supports their normal side of the car might wear out faster than your side.
To eliminate uneven tire wear, focus on even loading when you pack your vehicle, and try to rotate where everyone sits in your car. For example, to spread out tire wear, give your spouse or adult children a chance to drive or ride shotgun. You might feel a little like you are playing musical chairs, but it could save you from surprise tire problems while you are on the road.
By taking the time to carefully evaluate your driving habits, weight load, and current tire condition, you might be able to keep your family safe and happy this holiday season. For more information about maintaining your tires, contact a tire dealer in your area. For more information, contact a business such as Jensen Tire & Auto.