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Springtime means that summer is just around the corner, but until then we will have to endure the rain, constant temperature changes and spring mud.
Spring isn’t all bad, it also means that the birds are back singing, the dull white and grey of winter bursts into vibrant green, and of course, who could forget to give everything a good dose of spring cleaning.
This year, as part of your spring cleaning routine, you should extend your efforts to your vehicle. Spring maintenance is vital for the health of your vehicle, especially your tires.
Tires are arguably the most important part of your vehicle, without them it doesn’t matter what you have under the hood, your tires are what give you proper speed and control. But they are also one of the most often neglected parts of a vehicle.
Winter driving takes a toll on any vehicle. Combining salt, ice, snow, mud, and freezing temperatures it creates a potent mix of potentially damaging conditions. Expect the melting snow to reveal rust, scratches, dents, or worse! Tires are by no means immune from the harsh effects of winter.
Here are four spring tire maintenance tips for your car this season:
If you haven’t already, then now is the time to switch your winter tires for all-season or summer tires. Driving winter tires on dry, warm roads in spring and summer will reduce fuel efficiency and increase wear and tear. Over time that wear and tear will reduce the lifespan and effectiveness of your winter tires, or even potentially cause a catastrophic blowout.
While taking off your winter tires you should examine them to determine if they are suitable for next winter, or need to be replaced. Similarly, before re installing your all-season or summer tires you should first inspect them to make sure that they are up to the job.
Use the criteria laid out in the following steps to make this judgment.
One of the quickest and most sure-fire ways to determine the suitability of your old tires for a new season is by checking the tread depth. Proper tread depth increases traction and therefore handling, acceleration, fuel efficiency, and speed. Without traction you risk sliding right off the road – especially in the wet spring weather.
Using a tread depth gauge is the simplest method of checking your tire depth. If you don’t have one at home you can always visit your local mechanic. Alternatively, you can check the depth of your tire tread by using a penny or quarter. Insert a quarter into the tread head first, if you can see the queen’s head then the tread isn’t deep enough.
Using a tire gauge or other method, your tire tread should be an absolute minimum of 1/32nd of an inch.
Check for any sizeable nicks, tears, or bulges. Any of these issues could potentially lead to a blowout and you should visit your tire experts immediately. If you notice that the tires have worn out unevenly then it may be time for a tire rotation to prevent further uneven wear and tear. Tire rotations increase fuel efficiency and handling.
Once you have determined whether or not your tires are suitable it is time to install them on your vehicle. Remember that even the best tires are useless, unless they are properly inflated. Under inflated tires will increase friction with the road which leads to worse mileage and increased wear and tear. Be careful, over inflated tires may explode!
Use a simple air pressure gauge to check this and keep the gauge in your car at all times.
Don’t forget your tires this spring
A good spring maintenance routine starts in your home and ends in your vehicle. Keeping your tires well maintained this spring will go a long way to ensuring a safe and fun driving season this summer!