By John H. Piccin
Tires come in all varieties. Without getting into all different types of tires, let’s concentrate on the everyday tires on your two or four door sedan, SUV or pick-up truck.
First of all, you should frequently check to make sure your tires are properly inflated. Tire pressure gauges should be available to you at all auto parts stores. The tire manufacturer’s recommended tire pressures are on a label usually located inside the driver’s door and can easily be seen when the driver’s door is open. For most uses, the manufacturer’s recommendations should be followed. Recommended tire pressures may be different for the front and rear tires, usually depending on front to rear weight distribution of the vehicle.
Proper inflation will keep the full width of treads on the ground, resulting in more adhesion to the road. Proper inflation also will keep the tire sidewalls optimally stiff so that they don’t distort or collapse under cornering side pressure, which would allow that part of the car to slide, possibly out of control.
Tread depth is also significant for general driving purposes as the grooves allow rain water to go away from the tire, thus allowing proper adhesion of the tire to the road, and stability to the path of the vehicle.
Extremely worn tires will not allow the water to be pushed away from the tire and can result in hydroplaning. Hydroplaning occurs when water remains between the tire and the road, causing your vehicle to not stop in time to avoid a collision, or in some circumstances, causing the front and rear of the vehicle to switch ends with possible catastrophic consequences.
Some high performance vehicles are equipped with high performance tires which have relatively soft rubber treads (for added adhesion to the road) but which wear quickly to the point of being dangerous with regard to hydroplaning-sometimes with as few as 7,000 or 8,000 miles on them!
It is also important to have all four tires of the same make and model so that they are all adhering to the road approximately the same. Also, if you drive a rear-wheel drive car aggressively, your rear tires will wear more quickly than your front tires, resulting in increased chances of your car switching ends in the rain and going out of control.
It seems to this non-engineer that tires are somewhat like clothing-“you usually get what you pay for.” But whereas a worn knee on a pant-leg or a worn sport jacket elbow might look bad, it won’t hurt you. Improperly inflated or excessively worn tires could result in you or your loved ones getting severely hurt.
So, please pay attention to your tires’ inflation and condition. Do not be “penny wise and pound foolish” when it comes to your tires. Your safety and that of motorists around you may depend on it!
For more information, please feel free to call John Piccin or his daughter and law partner, Katie Glynn, for a free office consultation, (800) 969-5446 or (352) 351-5446, at 320 NW Third Avenue, Ocala, FL 34475, since 1981.