Tires are your car’s only safety device that touches the road. It’s vital to make sure yours are working properly – and important to know what to do when they aren’t.
We’re here to help as part of our Shop Talk with Nokian Tyres campaign.. Here are some basics you need to know when it comes to caring for your tires. For more information on each of these topics, be sure to visit our Tire Safety 101 page.
Tire Maintenance and Inspection
It’s hard to tell whether your tires are properly inflated just by looking at them. Even when your tires are underinflated or nearly flat, it can be difficult to feel it on the road. If you’ve been driving with underinflated tires, there might even be damage to the inner parts of the tire you can’t see.
That’s why it’s important to regularly check your tire pressure. We recommend doing so at least once each month and before a long trip.
You should check your tire pressure with a pressure gauge when tires are cold – in other words, before you’ve driven on them. Driving even a short distance causes tires to heat up and air pressure to increase. The recommended tire pressure can usually be found on a sticker inside your driver’s side door or in your car’s owner manual.
Make sure your spare tire is properly inflated, too, whether it’s a full-sized spare or a miniature.
It’s also important to check your tires’ tread depth on a regular basis. Click here to learn how. [link to Advanced Tire Safety Tips page]
What to Do When Your Tires are Damaged
If a tire failure occurs, you may hear a loud noise, feel a vibration, and/or the vehicle may pull toward the side of the failed tire. If possible, step on the accelerator momentarily to maintain forward momentum and ensure vehicle control.
Whatever you do, don’t brake or abruptly turn the steering wheel. Slowly remove your foot from the accelerator and hold the steering wheel firmly while steering to remain in your lane. Once the vehicle has slowed and is fully under control, apply the brakes gently; safely pull over to the shoulder and come to a stop. Inspect the tires.
If one or more looks flat or low, shows detachment or other damage, change the tire or call for help. Need to know who’s nearby to help you out? Check out our Dealer Locator for a list of Nokian Tyres-affiliated dealers.
Here are more tips about taking control when you’ve encountered an issue with your tires.
Here’s How to Safely Store Your Tires
If you’re one of the millions of North Americans who changes to and from winter tires each year – or you just keep an extra set handy – you can get more life out of your extra tires by following these storage tips.
Keep your tires in a dark, dry place that’s cooler than 60 degrees Fahrenheit [15 Celsius]. Anything warmer than 77 degrees [25 Celsius] or below freezing could change the properties of your tires’ rubber, impacting their total service life. High humidity can also be damaging.
Don’t store your tires in the same space as ozone-producing equipment, such as fluorescent lamps or high-voltage electrical equipment. Ozone deteriorates tires.
Finally, don’t ever drop your tires from higher than five feet. This can damage the bead area, which connects the tire to the wheel.
Driving Safely in Winter Conditions
Winter transforms roads, turning opportunities into obstacles. In snowy or icy conditions, the term “all-season tires” is a misnomer. If you want to have peace of mind on wintry roads, it’s vital to have winter or all-weather tires on your vehicle.
If you want to know whether you have winter-rated tires, look for the three-peak mountain snowflake symbol on your tires’ sidewalls or letters that indicate the tire’s rating. Tires without this notation are not recommended for winter driving.
Here are a few other winter driving safety tips.
We hope this gives you some good background information about how to keep your tires as safe as possible. Click here for more tire safety tips that’ll help give you peace of mind in all road conditions.