Common Myths and Misconceptions about Tires

Posted on by Defensive Driving Team | in Defensive Driving Online

Kicking the tires is an action that is synonymous with checking the soundness and quality of tires, but in reality, this does not really tell you much of anything at all. This pretty much sums up most drivers’ knowledge about tires because there are a lot of myths and misinformation on the subject. More often than not, drivers do not know when to replace them, how to inflate them properly and other essential basic care details. Maintaining properly filled and quality tires will not only increase the safety of your vehicle, but can also make your car more fuel efficient, so you should take the time to brush up on your facts and bust the tire myths.

Myth: You should maintain a lower operating tire pressure in the winter than in the summer.

Fact: Some drivers will lower their air pressure in the winter in an attempt to gain more traction and control on icy roads, but in reality, driving on too-low tires can cause damage and make your vehicle less safe in dangerous conditions. Tire pressure will naturally lower itself in the winter without any action on the part of the driver, but you should check the pressure at least once a month, according to Tire Safety.com and this is especially important in more dangerous winter months.

Myth: You should inflate your tires to the maximum pressure listed on the sidewall of the tire.

Fact: The maximum pressure is not the ideal air pressure for operating your vehicle with a normal weight load. Instead, you should consult your owner’s manual and use the air pressure guidelines set forth by the manufacturer of your vehicle.

Myth: You can tell that you tires are low just by looking at them.

Fact: Looks can be deceiving, so always check your tire pressure with an accurate pressure gauge. Gauges at gas stations can become faulty and worn by overuse, so invest in your own gauge to keep in your glove box.

Myth: You should check your tire pressure when your tires are warm after driving.

Fact: According to the Department of Motor Vehicles, tires should be checked when they are cold to get the best reading. If you are taking a measurement during hot weather, wait until the coolest part of the day to ensure increased accuracy.

Myth: There is a set amount of time that you should keep your tires before buying replacements.

Fact: Tire wear is very much dictated by each unique driver and vehicle pairing. Factors that can influence the speed of deterioration include harsh climate, rough road conditions, average driving speed and the weight and load of your vehicle. In addition to monthly pressure checks, Tire Rack.com recommends rotating your tires every 3,000 to 5,000 miles (you can sync it up with your oil changes) in order to even out the wear on the tires. This rotation will also serve as a check-up where the mechanic will ensure that your tires are safe and operational for the next 5,000 miles.

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