There are some tire safety checks you need to perform regularly – like checking their inflation once a month and keeping an eye on tread wear.
But when you’re about to embark on a road trip, the stakes go up. Long-mileage journeys place unique demands on your tires, and there’s nothing worse than a long journey getting derailed by a blowout in an unfamiliar place.
Rule No. 10 in our Ten Rules of Tires series is to treat a road trip differently than you would your daily commute. With a little preparation, you can have peace of mind and focus on enjoying the journey, not white-knuckling your way around every turn.
How? Here are some tips. And if you need some tips about where to go, check out our list of 50 road trips in 50 states (plus some provinces)!
Check Inflation and Tread Wear
Even if you’re already doing the two things we mentioned above, take another lap around your tires before taking them on a trip. Your car is probably going to be loaded heavier on a road trip than during your everyday journeys, which can increase the wear and tear on your tires.
Make sure they’re inflated to your vehicle’s recommend PSI level and use the penny test to make sure their depth is still solid. If you’re even approaching 5/32 of an inch of tread depth, you won’t have the same level of responsiveness – especially in adverse conditions.
While you’re monitoring inflation and wear, look for any signs of visible damage. If you think you see something even mildly concerning, drop by your tire shop for a more detailed inspection.
Experts recommend rotating your tires every 4,000 to 8,000 miles. It’s especially important to make sure your tires are freshly rotated before embarking on a long journey. If you’re behind schedule, your tires are likely to wear unevenly, worsening their performance and making driving less smooth and comfortable. The highway should feel gentle, not like a roller coaster.
Check Your Spare
Nobody ever wants to have to use their spare tire, but when you encounter a road hazard it’s vital to have one safe and ready. When you’re rolling through this checklist with your primary tires, make sure your spare is properly inflated and still has solid tread depth.
Bookmark Our Dealer Locator
We hope your only unscheduled stops are to see something fascinating you didn’t expect to encounter. But just in case you run into tire trouble, it’s a big help to know where to turn. Nokian Tyres has reliable dealer partners all over the country who would love to give you a hand. Bookmark our dealer locator so you can easily find shops along your route if you find yourself in a bind.
Here’s a full road trip checklist with information about each of these tips.