You already know that preventative maintenance is important for your fleet vehicles, as it saves money and helps keep drivers safe. Checking your tires is just as important as having your oil changed on time. Tire blowouts can be expensive to fix and dangerous to all on the road. In some cases, these can cause permanent damage to the vehicle.
It is recommended that all tires are checked once a month. While this may seem like a large commitment, checking your tires really only takes a few minutes. The Rubber Manufacturers Association encourages all drivers to “Be tire smart, and play your PART.” In this case, PART stands for pressure, alignment, rotation, and tread. A fleet management solution’s alerts can play a critical role in with tire maintenance reminders.
Did you know that a tire can lose as much as half of its air pressure and not even appear to be flat? Under inflation is a serious danger to all tires, as it contributes to unnecessary tire stress and irregular wear. In addition, tires with low air pressure can lead to loss of control of the vehicle and possibly an accident. You will be able to find the specs of what your tire pressure should be on the vehicle door edge, door post, glove box door, or the fuel door. You can also check the owner’s manual.
When a wheel is misaligned, the vehicle may experience uneven tread wear. A tire dealer can check and correct this for you. Misalignment can occur when a vehicle hits a curb or drives through a deep pothole. An identifying sign of a misaligned wheel is shaking of the vehicle. Another common indicator is a noticeable pull to one side while driving. All vehicles should have alignment checks as specified by the owner’s manual.
The RMA suggests having your tires rotated approximately every 5,000 miles. This helps achieve a more uniformed wear. If you notice that your tires are exhibiting signs of uneven wear, tire rotation may help correct this. Before rotating your tires, however, always check the owner’s manual for specific recommendations.
Checking tread may be the most simple out of all of these tire checks. This is a visual test and is done to make sure your tires have the ability to grip the ground in all road conditions. The RMA suggests using the “Penny Test” to check tread: put a penny into the tire groove. If a part of Lincoln’s head is covered by the tire, you are driving with enough tread. If Lincoln’s noggin is fully visible, you need a new tire. Tires should be replaced when they are worn down to 2/32 of an inch.
You should always be aware of your tires’ health and perform routine checks. If you have concerns, consult a tire dealer as soon as possible.