STATE COLLEGE – PennDOT, in cooperation with Tire Town of State College, held a press conference recognizing National Tire Safety Week and reminding motorists to ensure their tires are safe and in optimal condition before they drive.
PennDOT and Tire Town representatives reminded motorists to ensure that their tires are safe by checking the tires’ pressure, alignment, rotation and tread. Any tire problem, including improper inflation, excessive wear or misalignment, could lead to a failure of the tire. Tire failure alters the vehicle’s handling, which can result in a crash.
The pressure at which a vehicle’s tires should be inflated can be found on a placard located inside the driver’s side door of the vehicle. The tire pressure should be checked monthly when the tires are cool. The spare tire should also be checked once a month. Vehicle alignment should also be checked, as a misalignment of the tires can cause uneven or rapid wear of tire treads. Drivers should have their alignment checked as specified by the vehicle owner’s manual or if they experience “pulling” when traveling down the road.
Vehicle owners should schedule a tire rotation every 5,000 to 8,000 miles or the usage recommended by the owner’s manual. Rotating the tires ensures they will wear evenly.
Tire treads, which provide the vehicle’s traction on the roadway, should be inspected for safety. A quick way to check tread depth is to insert a penny in the tread groove with Lincoln’s head upside down and if you can see the entire head, the tire should be replaced. This is also a good time to check for cracks or foreign objects in the tire.
The representatives also offered other tips to consider when caring for tires:
- Some vehicles are equipped with a Tire Pressure Monitoring System that can help motorists detect a loss of tire pressure. While the system will alert drivers to a problem, it is recommended that monthly pressure checks still be completed;
- Nitrogen gas can be used in place of compressed air to inflate tires. Nitrogen may help in maintaining tire pressure because it does not seep through the tire as quickly as regular compressed air; and
- Properly inflated tires roll the way they are designed. An under-inflated tire will work harder, thereby decreasing fuel efficiency.
In the past five years, 9,321 vehicle crashes have been caused by a tire failure. In Centre County alone, there were 85 crashes attributed to tire failure between 2006 and 2010.
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