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Family Matters

Summer Road Trip To-Do List: Check Your Tires before Hitting the Highway

July 31st, 2015

Summer road trip to-do lists cover everything from fueling up to packing snacks for the kids. One item that should also be high on that list – but is often overlooked – is checking the condition of your tires before heading out. 

 “We’re Canadian! We are very aware of the need for good winter tires to get around in snowy or icy conditions,” says Sean Walsh, service manager, North Star Ford. “But for many of us, our concern about our tires ends when we swap out those winter tires for regular tires and warmer temperatures.”

Summer heat can accelerate a tire’s aging process. Changes in temperature can have an effect on tire inflation, with a five and a half degree Celsius increase in temperature causing a corresponding increase of one psi in tire pressure. This can lead to over inflation that results in reduced tire-to-road contact area, increased center tread wear, and poor handling.

Ford recommends vehicle owners inspect the tread of their tires for uneven or excessive wear at least once a month. Built-in tread wear indicators also known as wear bars, appear level with the tire tread when the tread is worn to one-sixteenth of an inch, or two millimeters. Wear bars look like narrow strips of smooth rubber across the tread grooves. A tire should be replaced if its tread is worn down to one-sixteenth of an inch.

Top tips for inspecting your vehicle tires:

  • Check the last four digits of the Tire Identification Number (DOT) located on the tire sidewall, to determine the week and year it was manufactured.  The last two digits show the year the tire was made. If the tire is more than six years old, it should be replaced
  • Check sidewalls for cracks, cuts, bruises, bulges or excessive wear; if internal damage to a tire is suspected, the tire should be removed and inspected for potential replacement
  • Check for cracks on the tread and remove objects – such as stones, nails or glass – that can become wedged in the tread grooves
  • Check valve stems for holes, cracks or cuts that can cause air leakage

“Heat, potholes and aging are among the factors that contribute to our tires degrading,” said Sean. “Ford wants to remind drivers that by keeping an eye on the condition of their tires, they can help ensure safety out on the roads and better performance from their vehicle.”

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