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How to Maintain Your Car Tires

Just like airplanes or human relationships, tires need frequent maintenance.


  • Step 1: Check air pressure Check the air pressure on all four tires and fill each as needed.
  • Step 2: Check overall condition Now check your tires’ overall condition. Look each one over carefully. The sidewalls should be flat and smooth. If you see bubbles, knots, or cracks, have a professional take a look.
  • Step 3: Get tire depth gauge To measure the amount of tread left on a tire, you’ll need a tire depth gauge—a small pin gauge calibrated to 1/32nd of an inch. This gauge can be found at most auto parts stores for less than five dollars.
  • Step 4: Slip gauge into tread Press the gauge all the way in to force the pin all the way out. Then slip the pin into the tread and press down until the gauge strikes the tire.
  • TIP: If you don’t have a depth gauge, insert a quarter—with Washington is head-first—into the tread. If reaches the top of his noggin, you’re good to go.
  • Step 5: Read tire depth on gauge Lift the gauge away from the tire and read the depth on the gauge. If a tire’s depth is 3/32nds of an inch or less, it’s worn out and needs replacing.
  • Step 6: Check in second spot To make sure your reading is accurate, check the same tire again in a second spot at least 15 inches from the first.
  • Step 7: Repeat on other tires Now do the same on all the other tires.
  • Step 8: Test wheel alignment Test your wheel alignment by driving in a straight line and allowing your hands to come just slightly off the wheel. If the car starts pulling to one side, take it to a professional to have it assessed.
  • FACT: If you rotate a full-sized spare tire into the mix, you can increase the life span of all five tires by 25%.

You Will Need

  • A car with tires
  • A tire gauge
  • A tire depth gauge

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