The tires on an automobile are one of those areas that people really don't give much attention to until something goes wrong. An occasional check with a tire gauge before a trip is all the care most people give. Tires, though, are likely the most important component on a vehicle when it comes to safety. Because most people really don't understand how to take proper care of their tires, there are a lot of myths and misconceptions that abound. Here's a look at some of the most common misconceptions about a car's tires.
Myth #1: If only two tires are being replaced, the new ones go in front One of the main jobs of your tires is stability, and most of a car's stability comes from the rear. If your rear tires are slick, attempting to turn or break on a slick surface can cause a spin. If a vehicle's front tires have all the traction, it's a dangerous setup for driving. It doesn't matter if it's a car or SUV, or a front or rear wheel drive: the rear tires need the most traction.
Myth #2: The car's TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System) makes sure the tires are properly inflated
Unfortunately, the TPMS on most newer vehicles gives people a false sense of security. This system isn't designed to alert you until your tires are at a level that's 25% below what manufacturers recommend as safe. The TPMS is actually designed as a "last chance" sort of alert. By the time your TPMS light clicks on, your tires aren't just low, they're very low. If you see this light, your tires are nearly to the point of failure, and need immediate attention.
Myth #3: Under inflated tires give better traction On the surface, this one make sense. If a tire is under inflated, there's more of it pressing against the road, and more tire contact means better traction. The truth is, though, that while a flatter tire may have more contact with the road, it doesn't have better contact. An under inflated tire won't have proper contact between the treads and the road, and will wear improperly - perhaps even leading to a blowout. It's always best to have your tires at least 2 to 6 PSI above the recommendation. Tire gauges are often a little inaccurate, and tires leak over time. The higher pressure will lessen the likelihood of hydroplaning. Given the fact that most people check their tires every few months (if that), it's always best to be on the safe side.
Since your car's tires are one of the most important safety components, it's important to give them the care they deserve. Taking the time to gain some knowledge about your tires will make sure that you're driving as safely and efficiently as possible. If you have more question, or your tires are in need of service, contact a local auto shop, like PDR Automotive Inc.