Flat tires can turn a great day into a nightmare in just seconds. They’re inconvenient, costly, time-consuming, and in some cases, the circumstances can be terrifying. Thankfully, there are a few steps you can take to avoid a flat tire and save yourself the cost and the stress that come with it!
Check Tire Pressure
Driving on tires with low pressure significantly increases your chance of getting a flat—or worse. Vehicles driving on under-inflated tires are at greater risk for brake issues, poor fuel economy, and even blowouts. But an act as simple as regularly checking your tire pressure helps you avoid cumbersome flats and other dangerous situations.
Low tire pressure affects your car’s steering and braking. The vehicle’s reaction time is reduced, putting you in danger when you need to suddenly brake or swiftly steer the wheel to avoid hitting something.
In addition, low tire pressure affects the tire’s walls. When a tire is driving under-inflated, more pressure is put on the sidewalls. This increases friction which can wear away tread and cause leaks or even blowouts. Thankfully, you can prevent these incidents by checking your tire pressure and adding air when needed.
Experts recommend checking your tire pressure once a month and before any long road trips. Tires generally lose one to three PSI (pounds per square inch) of pressure each month. That means in just a few months, your tires could feel the effects of low pressure.
By checking your tire’s PSI, you can know for sure that you’re driving efficiently and safely, and you won’t get a flat because you neglected this simple maintenance practice.
Rotate Your Tires
Tire pressure isn’t the only wheel maintenance you should regularly practice. Rotating your tires is crucial for safe driving and avoiding a flat.
A tire rotation changes the position of your car’s tires. The front wheels are moved to the back of the vehicle, and the back wheels move to the front.
Generally, the front tires of your car work harder than the back wheels. When you rotate your tires, you’re giving those front wheels a break. The rotation evenly distributes the wear and tear on your tires, reducing the chances that your front set will break down faster than the back set.
When you neglect having your tires rotated, your front wheels bear the brunt of pulling your car over the pavement. This wears them down and increases the likelihood of weakness or tears that can lead to a flat.
Most car care experts recommend rotating your tires every 7,500 miles or every six months. A simple way to keep up with tire rotations is having it done at every other oil change. Keeping a consistent rotation schedule ensures you’re keeping both front and back tires in good shape, reducing your chances of getting a flat.
Alert and assertive driving will help you avoid road hazards and the flats that often come with them. Each year, these hazards cause thousands of flat tires. AAA estimates that potholes alone cause more than $3 billion in damages annually.
If possible, avoid routes that are notorious for poor road maintenance or are undergoing construction. All it takes is a single nail puncture to give you a flat tire and a ruined day. Steering clear of construction zones will save time and money and decrease the likelihood that you’ll get a flat.
Curbs and even some speed bumps can also give you tire trouble. You should cultivate an attitude of careful, alert driving. When you’re looking out for speed bumps in neighborhoods or curbs in a parking lot, you’re less likely to speed over them and damage your tires.
Mind Your Brakes
Your brakes play a significant role in the longevity of your tires. If you’re a driver who brakes at the last possible second, you’re likely causing premature wear on your tires, putting yourself at risk for getting a flat.
When you slam on the brakes, friction stops your tires in their tracks, producing heat. Over time, repeated, abrupt braking causes your tire’s treads to wear down, increasing the likelihood of a flat.
Additionally, old brakes can cause unnecessary wear on your tires. Getting your brakes checked regularly—every six months or so—ensures you aren’t grinding your tires with old brakes that need replacing. Your brakes and tires work together, so to keep your tires healthy, keep your brakes in good shape too.
Buy the Right Tires for Your Car
Regarding car tires, one size does not fit all. When the time comes to purchase a new set of tires, do your research to ensure you’re getting tires that work with your vehicle. You want to find tires that can support the weight of your car—plus some.
When taking a road trip, hauling furniture, or even moving to a new home, people make the mistake of overloading their cars. This often leads to a flat tire.
Your tires aren’t meant to carry your vehicle plus massive loads of weight. All tires have a maximum weight they can support. You can find this information in your car’s owner manual. Keep this number in mind when packing your car for a long trip or a big move.
If you must haul a lot of heavy items, try to distribute the weight evenly across your vehicle. This spreads the burden across all four tires and not just the back two.
Sometimes, flat tires are unavoidable. But as you can see above, there are a few ways you can maintain and drive your vehicle to prevent flats from happening! We hope our tips help you drive more safely and avoid those pesky flats.
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