Maintenance Checklist for Your Tires
Treadworld Maintenance Checklist for Your Tires
Clean your tires. While there are several commercial tire cleaning solutions on the market, we prefer warm water, a mild detergent and a medium to soft-bristled brush. Allow the detergent to sit on the tire for a few minutes to loosen the grime, then rinse and repeat as needed. Do the same with the wheel, then dry both with a clean clot
- Inspect each tire. Look for uneven wear, cupping, scalloping or feathering on the tread area, which can be caused by over/under-inflation, improper wheel alignment, or worn or loose suspension parts, and which can significantly shorten the life of your tires. Visually inspect the sidewalls looking for cracks, cuts or exposed cords.
- Check the tire pressure. Optimal tire pressure improves traction and leads to better mileage and longer life. Over-inflation can cause the tire to slip, and under-inflation can damage the tire. Many prefer the pinpoint accuracy of a digital tire gauge. Keep in mind that cold weather can lead to pressure loss during storage.
- Assess the tread. Using old, bald tires with a tread level of 2/32 of an inch can be unsafe, leading to a flat or skidding. A simple trick for making sure you have at least 20% tread left is with a penny. Place it with Abraham Lincoln’s head side down facing you between the tread ribs of your tire. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, you need to start thinking about replacing your tires.
- Pay attention to your valve stems. They are inexpensive but tight stems are essential to a top-performing tire. To test them pour a simple mixture of water and dish soap around the stem and look for bubbles caused by leaks.
- Tighten bolts and nuts and check the wheels to be sure they are unbent and debris-free.
Note: How old are your tires? The age of your tires is something to keep in mind even if they pass the “penny test.” There are no federally-mandated safety rules relating to the age of tires, and usually age starts deteriorating the rubber compounds before a tire’s tread will wear out. However, it’s a fact that the older a tire gets, the higher tire risk of unexpected tread separation. With many tires, you can tell the week and year it was manufactured by looking at the DOT ID located on the sidewall near the rim. The letters “DOT” are followed by 8 to 13 numbers. The last of those numbers pinpoints the manufacture date. 3620, for instance, tells you the tire was manufactured in the 36th week, in the year 2020.