Monitoring tire safety involves more than checking air pressure. Routine tire inspections will help you identify problems with tires and other important systems.
Time Required: varies
- Refer to your owner's manual for the manufacturer's recommended tire pressure. You might also find this information on a sticker in the glove box or on the driver's door jamb.
- Use a gauge to check the air pressure in each tire. Add air or deflate as needed to match the manufacturer's recommendation.
- Look in the grooves between tire tread for raised patches of rubber, 2/32" patches called wear bars. The patches will help you identify a worn out tire. In most states 3/32-inch is the minimum legal tread depth.
- If tread is worn to a level where wear bars are flush with the tread it indicates that tread depth is 2/32-inch or less. Replace the tires.
- If your tires do not have wear bars, place a US penny into a groove between treads, with Lincoln's head down. If the tread is at or beyond the top of Lincoln's head you have at at least 3/32-inch of tread left, a satisfactory level.
- Tread should wear evenly, so inspect each tire for unusual tread wear. A rounded edge on the inside and outside edges of tread could indicate under-inflation.
- The same wear pattern on front tires of front-wheel drive vehicles could indicate a need for more frequent tire rotation.
- Excessive wear on the center of a tire's tread could indicate over-inflation.
- Unusual wear that resembles a chopped or stair-step pattern could indicate worn shocks. Stair-step wear on the inside and outside tread of front tires on 4x4 vehicles may be normal.
- Excessive wear on the inside or the outside of the tread could indicate the need for alignment.
- Carefully check each tire for punctures, nails, damage, scuffs, and weather cracking. Repair or replace as necessary.
- Pressure stats printed on sidewalls indicate the maximum amount of air pressure tires should be inflated with, they are not recommended pressures.
- Check your owner's manual or ask your local tire dealer for tire rotation recommendations.
What You Need
- Tire Pressure Gauge
- US Penny