How important is your vehicle in your life? If you are like most people, the answer is “very important”. Your car or truck takes you and your family members everywhere you need to go, from school and work to soccer practice and dance lessons, and there is a lot riding on those tires. That’s why it’s so important to pay attention to preventive maintenance and get service on the vehicle—especially regular tire rotations and inspections.
You should have a professional inspection on your tires at regular intervals throughout your vehicle’s life and any time you’re planning a major road trip, but you can also perform some basic inspections at home to check the current wear level of your tires and try to spot damage. The easiest way is to use a penny:
You can also check for signs of deflation or a loss of pressure in the tires, either visually or with a small tool that reads tire pressure. If you’re not sure what worn or damaged tires look like, you can always take the vehicle to a tire shop to have a professional take a look.
It might seem like the four tires on your vehicle are perfectly balanced and would wear at the exact same rate, but this is not the case. Each position—from the driver’s side front of the vehicle to the passenger’s side rear of the vehicle—wears a little differently depending on factors like how many turns you make either right or left, how often you pull into a parking space, and the number of times you get on and off the freeway.
Over time certain parts of the tires will wear out, and if you leave the same tire in the same place on your vehicle, this means a small part of the tire is weaker than the rest. You might not notice the difference just looking at the tires, but having a weak spot puts you at risk for a blown tire out there on the road. Rotating your tires on a regular basis ensures that each tire spends time at each position so the traction wears off evenly across all four.
This simple maintenance—a process that takes only about 20-30 minutes at the most—can significantly increase the useful life of your tires, and increase your own safety operating the vehicle. It’s important to note that it’s not as simple as moving front tires to the back and vice versa. Different tires have different rotation patterns, so you want to take the vehicle to a tire expert to ensure that they will be rotated in a way that is safe and effective.
Don’t delay tire inspections and rotations; scheduling them at regular intervals helps keep you and your family safe, and can save you money by prolonging tire life.