When you're planning for a long road trip, it's easy to get lost in all of the details, maps, booking and packing, but your car needs some attention as well. Besides changing your oil and brakes, you should also spend some time assessing the condition of your tires and ensuring they are ready for any kind of road or weather. Before you hit the road, run through these four steps to make sure you don't end up with a flat hundreds of miles from home.
Checking Tire Pressure and Condition
Your first step whenever you check your tires should be to perform a quick visual inspection. This involves simply walking around the car, watching for any bubbles that have formed in the tire wall and any areas where the tread has been worn down. Next, use a tire pressure gauge to measure the air pressure; if your tires have gotten low, it can negatively impact your gas mileage and leave you more vulnerable to flats. If any of these basic inspections fall outside the safe and normal range for the brand of tire, you should consider replacing them.
Packing the Necessary Equipment
There are few things more stressful and irritating than experiencing tire troubles without the right tools to get your car back on the road. Whenever you are traveling during winter or over mountains, you should have tire chains in your car in case you encounter snowy or icy roads. Similarly, double check that you have a spare tire and jack on hand in case you develop a flat. These quick acts of preparation can save you significant time and money later on, and the chains may even save your life.
Rotating Your Tires
If you don't choose to begin your road trip with a new set of tires, you should at least have them rotated before you leave. As tires roll over asphalt, they wear away unevenly based on their position. Rotating your tires puts pressure on fresher areas of their surface, extending their lifespan in the process. This relatively inexpensive operation can keep your tires rolling for several thousand more miles than they would otherwise last.
Replacing Your Tires
Of course, the safest way to begin any road trip is with fresh tires that won't harbor any unpleasant surprises or fail at the worst possible moment. This is especially important when you will be traveling through snow, ice or difficult terrain. If you are at all unsure about the current state of your tires or what you will need to travel safely, visit your a tire shop like Discount Tire Centers for an informed assessment of your current tires' conditions and your possible alternatives.