Purchase a new car and a fresh set of tires come with it. That’s obvious, but what you may not know is that tires are backed and guaranteed by the tire manufacturer, not the automaker. Thus, it is incumbent upon you to learn how to care for your tires from two perspectives: what the automaker says in the owner’s manual and what the tire manufacturer warrants. Here’s how help care for your tires.

1. Check the tire pressure. On a monthly basis you should check your tire pressure, including for the spare. With a tire gauge in hand, check each tire when the tires are cold. The reading should match the recommended tire pressure figure established by the tire manufacturer. That information is typically found on a placard affixed to the driver’s door jamb or the glove box. It may also be included in the owner’s manual.

2. Hitting the road. If you are planning a long trip, you should step up your tire checking schedule to verify pressure before you leave. It may also be time to rotate your tires. Also, if the tires are showing signs of wear, replace them before you head out. Quite easily, we can put more than 1,000 miles on our cars when we go on vacation. Ensure that the tires are up to the task.

3. Do not deflate. If your tires are hot, the PSI reading will come in high. It can be tempting to let some air out of the tires, but don’t do it. Instead, hold to the earlier schedule of checking tire pressure while the car is still cold.

4. Ignore this number. Tire manufacturers post a PSI number on their tires. However, that number is not ideal for your car. Always go by the car manufacturer’s recommendations as that number takes into account several variables including your car’s payload.

5. Gas station pressure gauges. It is important to invest in your own tire gauge and use that to determine the correct tire inflation for your vehicle. If you use the pressure gauge at the gas station, it may not be correct. Further, the tires may be hot by the time you pull up to the station, giving you an inaccurate reading.

6. Keep the valves covered. Tire valves enable you to ensure that the tires are properly inflated. Further, tire valves also keep moisture from entering the tire. A tire cap is important as they help maintain tire pressure. They also keep dirt from entering the tire by way of the valve. It can be worth your while to invest in a set of quality caps as rubber caps will deteriorate because of age as well as from wear and tear. Always have the valves replaced when you purchase new tires.

7. Mind the tread wear indicators. Today’s tires have tread wear indicators included, what signal it is time to replace your tires. When the indicators show, that means your tires do not have enough tread left. You can also check tire wear and tear by measuring them. If there is less than 2/32 of an inch of tread left, then the tire should be replaced.

8. Replace in pairs or in sets. Never replace one tire alone. Always replace them in pairs or in sets of four. That way, you can ensure even tread across all four tires. If you are replacing two tires, the new pair always is placed on the rear axle. If you replace four tires, you stand a better chance of getting a discount from the tire manufacturer or tire stores. Don’t forget to replace the spare tire when it is worn out too.

Tire Care Considerations

Maintain your tires according to recommendation and they’ll last longer. Rotate your tires per the owner’s manual to ensure even wear.