Auto Bits: 5 tips to keep your tires ready for holiday driving
Tip of the Week
Holiday season is almost upon us again, meaning an extra-large helping of food, family, friends and fun are in store. Unfortunately, so is the seasonal nasty weather. Be prepared for chilling temps, rain and snow that could easily put a damper on driving to holiday celebrations and shopping sprees.
As the weather starts to get temperamental and roads get super-slick, now is the time to make sure your car is ready to handle the holiday driving crunch. First place to check is at your feet: Your tires are responsible for safely getting you from holiday point A to point B.
“Whether frantically searching for parking spaces at the mall or heading on a road trip to visit family, people have a lot on their plates during the holidays,” said Alan Holtschneider, director of marketing for Yokohama Tire Corp., maker of a variety of tires. “The one thing they shouldn’t forget to do is check the condition of their tires. It’s something every driver should do because tires are the only part of a vehicle that actually touches the road and they affect everything from braking and steering to comfort and handling.”
Holtschneider said that certain types of tires perform well in less-than-ideal conditions. “An all-season tire such as the Avid Ascend GT delivers improved wet/snow braking and handling, while a light truck tire like the Geolandar A/T G015 handles any weather condition, including snow.”
Tire maintenance is also important. Make sure the tread is in good shape and your tires are properly inflated. That will help increase traction on wet and icy roads, which is especially important during the fall/winter season. Here are some year-round tips:
• Check tire pressure: Check tire pressure at least once a month — this takes about five minutes. Always use an accurate tire gauge and consult the owner’s manual or placard on the driver’s door to determine proper tire pressure. Tire pressure should be checked when the tires are cold — at least four hours since the vehicle was last driven.
• Check tread depth: Check your tread depth by placing a penny upside down into a tread groove. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head, your tire’s tread has worn down to the legal limit and you need to buy a new tire.
• Replace worn tires: Tires should be replaced when the tread is worn down to 2/32 of an inch, the lowest legal limit. It’s best to replace them before they reach 2/32 for optimal performance, especially in bad weather.
• Rotate tires regularly: Rotating your tires regularly promotes even wear of the tread. Tires should be rotated every 5,000 to 8,000 miles.
• Check tire alignment: Check your alignment at least once a year or sooner, especially if the vehicle is pulling to one side. This will help avoid uneven wear on tire tread. Tire balance should also be monitored.
Tesla’s Model S sedan recently lost its Consumer Reports magazine recommendation largely because of suspension problems reported by CR members in the survey. However a spokesperson for Tesla said that the problem was supplier-related and that the automaker already had addressed it. The survey, which ranked 29 brands in the U.S. market and can be found at https://www.consumerreports.org/cars-car-reliability-guide.
Did you know
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, students are about 70 times more likely to get to school safely when taking a school bus instead of traveling by car.
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