by Pat Goss
It’s amazing that one of the most important safety features on any car is also the most overlooked: the tires. They are critical to safe driving, yet nobody pays attention to tire pressure and tire wear. Find out where the tire pressure label is on your vehicle from the owner’s manual, and always inflate the tires to that proper pressure and check them regularly. Remember that proper tire pressure is not on the tire.
Now, if you over-inflate the tires, the tires will wear in the center. This reduces traction and the life of the tires. If you under-inflate them, they’ll wear on the outside edges. This will cut the life of the tire. It will also reduce traction.
Something else you want to be aware of here is tire balance. It causes the tire to shake. Well, if you look at your tires and you see a bunch of weight spread around the rim, such as we’ve demonstrated here, that means that either the machine used to balance this tire was not working properly or the operator was not working properly. In a good balance on a tire, you’ll probably see one weight and maybe a smaller one not too far away from it. But if there’s anything on the opposite side of the tire, something is wrong.
Now tires get punctured, and there are different ways to plug or repair tires. Absolutely the best is this patch plug [left]. This is on the inside of the tire. In here there’s a rubber plug that is pushed through the tire so it seals the outside against moisture getting in. It seals the inside against air getting out. You can also do the same thing with plugs like this [right], but when this is done, you have to de-mount the tire and there’s a chemical that’s placed inside the tire to keep air from migrating into the plies of the tire and damaging it.
Oh, most of you probably have some type of emergency tire inflator. Well, there’s a lot of them on the market, but be very careful because some of them are flammable, and in that case, there’s going to be a label on the can that must be removed and placed on the rim next to the valve stem, and you must also tell the repair technician that there is a flammable product in the tire. Otherwise somebody could get seriously hurt.