Tips from Used Car Advisor

Car Advisor Tamotsu Todoroki

Hi, this is Tamotsu Todoroki. I am a car advisor of
I write an online column every week to take care of your vehicle. My column is all about something useful and practical for your vehicle. Please have a look once to keep your car in good condition.


How to Extend the Life of Your Tires - Vol.12

Tires for your car are a costly item and from time to time need to be replaced. Everything is riding on your tires so it is in your best interest to take care of them. Tire maintenance is simple. Tire care is simple. Increase the longevity and performance of your tires by doing a few simple things.

Keep Your Tires Properly Inflated

Under inflated or overinflated tires can result in tire failure. Check the tire pressure monthly. That is something you can do yourself with a tire gauge. Tire gauges are available in the automotive department of your favorite department store for a few dollars. If your vehicle has regular maintenance such as oil changes, tire pressure check is usually part of the routine. Under inflated tires will result in irregular wear of the tread and potential loss of control of your car. A tire can lose up to half of its inflation pressure and not appear to be flat. The tire pressure can be found in your vehicle owner's manual as well as printed on the side of your tire. Some back tires and front tires use different pressure. Check your user manual or tires for proper pressure.

Make Sure Your Tires Have Valve Caps on All Valve Stems

The cap keeps dirt and water out of the stems and also prevents the valve pins from popping out. If the valve pin pops out you will find your tire as flat as a haddock.

Rotate Your Tires Regularly

Regular tire rotation will help your tires wear evenly. Your vehicle owner's manual will note how often your tires should be rotated. If you follow the regular maintenance schedule for your car, tire rotation will be part of that routine. If no time period is specified, usually 6,000 to 8,000 miles is a good time frame. If you have a full size spare tire, make it part of the rotation. Each tire supports a different weight and this causes your tires to wear unevenly. Rotating your tires distributes the unevenness more evenly.

Proper Tire Balance

Tire balancing compensates for the weight of the tire and wheel assembly after the tire is mounted. A wheel is out of balance when one area is heavier or lighter than the rest. An unbalanced tire will cause eccentric tread wear and vibration. Tires are balanced when they are new and should be rebalanced every other tire rotation.

Alignment of the Front and Rear Suspension

Proper alignment helps insure that your vehicle handles correctly and smoothly. Misalignment is caused by hitting a curb, a pothole or junk in the road. Have your alignment checked occasionally, especially if you drive on rugged roads.

Proper Driving Habits

The way you drive affects the integrity of your tires. Drive the speed limit. High speeds generate excess heat that softens the tires slightly which adds to the wear and tear of your tire. Avoid fast turns around corners and on curves. Avoid fast starts and stops, riding on the edge of the pavement; do not drive over curbs, potholes or road debris. Don't hit speed bumps to hard. Don't overload your vehicle. If you have a car, don't use it as a pickup truck.

Tire Care

Check your tires regularly for cuts, punctures, snags and irregular tire wear. At the first sign of irregular tire wear have the alignment checked. Clean your tires with soap and water and a soft brush or shop cloth. Tire manufacturers usually have tire and wheel care cleaning products available to help keep your tires in good condition.