As Marietta car accident attorneys, our firm often hears about auto accidents that were caused by pre-existing problems with vehicles. Lack of vehicle maintenance greatly increases the probability of being involved in a metro-Atlanta auto wreck. One such safety precaution that all drivers should observe is maintaining your vehicles’ tires. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, simple tire maintenance is often neglected with a mere 15% of people that drive cars actually checking their tire pressure correctly. Lack of tire maintenance can result in blowouts, tire separation, and other complications that cause breakdowns and auto accidents. Not only does proper tire maintenance lessen your chances of breaking down or having an accident, but it also improves the handling and fuel economy of your vehicle while increasing the life of your tires. You actually save money by properly maintaining your tires.
Georgia auto drivers should check and maintain the tires on their vehicles at least once a month and before going on long trips. Below are some helpful tips and instructions on tire maintenance to ensure your safety:
- Tire Pressure Checks: Under inflation is the leading cause of tire failure in tire-related auto accidents. Tires naturally lose air over time, even under normal weather conditions. You also want to avoid overloading the vehicle’s tires, as that is dangerous as well. You will need a good tire gauge for an accurate tire pressure reading, as low pressure cannot always be identified by eye. Tire pressure checks should also be done when tires are cold and haven’t been driven long distances recently. Driving causes your tires to heat up and will create an incorrect reading. The steps to an accurate pressure reading are as follows:
- First, identify the air pressure recommended by the manufacturer’s, which is listed both in your owner’s manual and on the sticker in your vehicle’s door jamb.
- Remove the tire valve cap.
- Place the end of the tire gauge over the valve.
- Press the tire gauge straight and firmly until the scale extends.
- If needed, add air and recheck pressure with the tire gauge.
- Finally, replace the tire valve cap.
- Don’t forget to check the spare in case of an emergency!
- Tire Tread Visual Checks: There are tread wear indicators built into tires to warn drivers when it’s time to replace tires. You can also test treads with the “penny test”. Simply place a penny in the tire tread, with Lincoln’s head facing down. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, your treads are worn and it’s time to replace your tires.
- Rotate Tires Regularly: To achieve even tread wear, it’s important to rotate your tires. This part of tire maintenance is not necessary on a monthly basis. For maximum mileage, tires should be rotated every 5,000 miles or according to your owner’s manual. Also, follow the correct rotation patterns when doing so.
- Tire Balance and Alignment: Uneven tread wear can be caused by unbalanced tires or misaligned steering and suspension. This also affects the stability and steering of your car. An obvious sign of this is if your vehicle “pulls” to one side or another when traveling on a straight road. Although checking your tire balance and alignment is not something that has to be done monthly, drivers should be aware of these potential hazards.
- Matched Tires or Complete Sets: When you replace your tires, do so in complete sets, or front or rear pairs. Different tires on the left and right sides of your vehicle can offset the balance of a vehicle.
At Jones & Swanson, we care about your safety and well-being. Being educated about tire maintenance and safety is the first step to preventing serious metro-Atlanta auto accidents. If you have questions or want to know more about liability in Marietta auto accidents, contact us today. We would be happy to discuss the matter with you.