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Tires                                                Bellingham / Ferndale WA / Whatcom County

Checking your tires is crucial in the summer. Long road trips with larg loads and high temperatures can stress them to the max.

Tire Tread wear

     You should check the condition of your tires' treads.

     The minimum acceptable tread depth is 3/32 inch. This is about the distance from the edge of a penny to the top of Abe's head. But, if you are leaving on a trip, you wouldn't want the minimum tread.

     While you're looking at the tire tread, keep an eye out for an uneven wear pattern. “Uneven” means the tire is more worn on one edge. This usually means you need a wheel alignment. Also, run your fingers along the tread and feel for lumps. The presence of lumps could mean that the tire is not balanced correctly.

Tire Pressure

     Make sure that you have the correct tire pressure in all five tires.

  What constitutes “correct” tire pressure?

All Tires are different and have the recomended tire pressure on the side of the tire.  You can also us what your vehicle manufacturer recommends, which should be listed on the side of the driver's door, on the glove compartment door, or in the owner's manual.

     Don't confuse the “maximum tire pressure” listed on the sidewall of the tire with the “recommended tire pressure” provided by the manufacturer of the vehicle.

      Remember that tire pressure will increase as the outside air temperature rises. In fact, tire pressure will go up approximately one pound for every 10 degrees Fahrenheit. So, tires that were at 35 PSI back in January when you drove to the slopes could easily be closing in on 45 pounds on a hot July day. Under some conditions that increase in pressure is enough to blow the tire!  If nothing else, a tire that's overinflated will wear prematurely and will cause the car to handle and brake poorly.

     You also have to remember friction. As you drive, there's friction between the tires and the road. Friction means heat--and heat means an increase in tire pressure. So, here's what to do about your car's tire pressure: Check the tire pressure before you start driving. If the recommended pressure is 35 PSI, for example, it means 35 PSI before you start driving. If you check the tire pressure when you stop to get gas two hours later, it will be much higher than 35 PSI. If you check it at this point—after you've been driving--there is no way to know what the correct tire pressure should be. You'll be tempted to let air out of the tires, because the tire pressure will be greater than 35 PSI. Do not do this, because the tires will be under inflated.

 

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