Nearly 200 people are killed in tire-related car crashes each year, and drivers in Conroe and across the nation need to make tire safety awareness and maintenance top priorities. Proper and timely tire maintenance is essential for keeping your car safe and roadworthy. During the hotter months especially, motorists need to pay particularly close attention to their tire pressure and tread-wear. In 2014, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) launched their “Tirewise” campaign, which is dedicated to educating consumers on tire safety and tire maintenance tips.
Just the Facts on Tire Safety
- Every year, there are nearly 11,000 tire-related crashes in the U.S.
- Nearly 200 people die in those wrecks each year
- American drivers put more than 2,969 billion miles on their tires
NHTSA’s Top Five Tire Maintenance Tips
- Check the pressure in all tires, including the spare, at least once a month
- Check tire tread once a month, at the same time you check tire pressure
- Get your tires balanced and aligned by a qualified technician
- Rotate your tires to reduce the potential for irregular wear
- Always purchase the appropriately sized tires for your vehicle
How Much Tread Depth Do I Need?
Adequate tread is essential for safe navigation around town or across the country. Tread provides the gripping action and traction your vehicle needs to stay on the roadway. Inadequate or poor tread can send your car slipping and sliding, especially in the rain. Tires are not safe and need to be replaced if the tread is worn down to 2/32 of an inch. If your tires don’t have built-in tread wear indicators, you can use the old penny trick. Place the penny in the tread, with Lincoln’s head down and facing you. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, it’s time for new tires.
Keep your tires properly inflated
What About Tire Pressure?
Getting into the habit of regularly checking your tire pressure is so important. Remember to always check the pressure when the tires are “cold,” which means the car hasn’t been driven for at least three hours. Check the Tire and Loading Information Label on your driver’s side door or in your owner’s manual for the recommended inflation pressure. Even if you have a newer car with an onboard tire pressure-monitoring system, you still need to check your tire pressure every month. It’s also a good idea to keep a tire pressure gauge in your car.
Need to Know: Tire Age
Tires age. It’s a fact. Over time, they begin to breakdown. Even if tires look like they have plenty of life left in them, you need to take the tire’s age into account when conducting maintenance and considering new tires. If your tires are more than seven years old, it’s time to go shopping. Spare tires should also be replaced after seven years, even if they have perfect tread. An old tire is a dangerous tire.
The DOT number will have the week and month the tire was manufactured
How to Read the DOT Number on Your Tires
Not sure how to read the DOT number on your tires? On the side of your tire walls, you’ll find the DOT number. The sequence of numbers begins with DOT (Department of Transportation). The next part of the sequence stands for the manufacturer or plant code. Some tires will then have the tire size code, which will be alphanumeric. Next, there will be the manufacturer's identity number, although this part is optional and may not be on every tire. Finally, the most important part of the DOT number is the last four digits. These numbers stand for the week and year the tire was made. If your last four digits are 0308, the tire was made in the third week of 2008.
Summer Tire Safety
Although we know it’s important to check tire pressure every month, drivers need to pay particularly close attention to tire pressure and tread-wear during hot weather. The summer months, August especially can wreak havoc on tires, so pay special attention to signs of irregular or unexpected wear, aging, and tire pressure. The tread is likely to wear at a much faster rate when temperatures and roadways are scorching.
Are Your Tires Under Recall?
Finally, like other auto parts, defective and faulty tires do occasionally get sold to consumers, so it’s important to make sure your tires aren’t under any safety recalls for manufacturing defects or safety concerns. Don’t think that you’re in the clear just because you didn’t get a postcard. Check your tire’s recall status with the Tire Recall Lookup tool.
Being “Tirewise” is all about information, education, and taking control of your tire maintenance and safety. Now that you know about tire pressure, tread-wear, age, and other factors impacting the safety of your tires, you can hit the road with confidence. If you think defective or faulty tires could have been a factor in your car accident, contact your trusted Conroe, TX, Scott Law Firm at (936) 243-4299 for a free case consultation.