While maintenance is critical to your tires’ overall lifespan, driving style can also play a big role in their longevity. And just like bad habits can affect your personal health, bad driving habits can affect the health of your tires. Some of these bad habits to avoid include:
1) Neglecting to maintain air pressure
The pressure is on! An important factor associated with safe driving habits is making sure that your vehicle is always in safe driving condition. One of the leading causes of tire blowouts is due to underinflated tires, which can affect you, your passengers and other drivers on the road. To avoid blowouts and stay safe on the road, it is essential to routinely check your tire pressure. In addition, keep in mind that tire pressure also changes with temperature, so it is vital to pay attention throughout the changing seasons. If you notice that your air pressure is continually low despite attempts to maintain the air in your tires, it may be time to replace them. Don’t overlook this need!
2) Speeding, especially around curves and corners
Slow down! Taking curves too fast can significantly increase wear on front tire edges, which could ultimately lead to blowouts and force you to purchase new tires well before their average lifespan. In addition, the slower you drive overall, the more time you have to react and prevent yourself from hitting debris or getting into a collision. Always try and give yourself a little extra time and leave plenty of room (at least three seconds) between your car and the one in front of you.
3) Quick accelerating and breaking
Take it easy! Whether it’s the gas or the breaks, you should always avoid hitting them hard. Stopping too fast and suddenly puts strain on both your breaks and your tires, while putting the pedal to the medal burns rubber. Both of these actions are considered poor choices when it comes to tire care. Remember to use light touches when accelerating and/or decelerating. This will limit unnecessary damage to engine, your brakes and your tires, as well as save you money in the long run.
4) Driving on damaged roads
Pay Attention! Studies show that road hazards are one of the major contributors to shortened tire life, and one of the leading contenders is potholes. According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), drivers in the United States pay an average of three billion dollars annually to cover damage caused by potholes. Hitting one can create tire leaks, flats and increase wear. Furthermore, potholes can mess with your car’s wheels, suspension, exhaust and body. So, if you see potholes, don’t speed over them; or better yet, try to avoid them all together.
Look Out for Puddles! Another thing to keep in mind is that potholes and damaged road surfaces often hide under puddles, so use caution and go slowly when you see a pool of water up ahead.
While sometimes road damage is unavoidable, you can help minimize flat-tire experiences by keeping your tires inflated properly at all times. Check them regularly. Lastly, know that you can help make a difference. If you see a pothole, help out other drivers by notifying your local government.
5) Ignoring dashboard warning lights
Take Action! We all know it’s a pain to take our car to a professional mechanic, but ignoring vehicle warning lights and other signs can make a small problem lead to something catastrophic in the end. Always pay attention to the signs that appear on your vehicle’s dashboard and take action to address the issue as soon as possible. For example, If you see the “TPMS” light come on in your car, it means that your tire pressures are 20% below pressure and you need to fill up your tires with air immediately!
You can review the meaning of your vehicle’s warning lights on the DMV-approved Driver’s Education web site and refer to your owner's manual if you're not 100% sure what the light indicates.