Tire Safety for Family Summer Road Trips
Summer is here, which means that families across the country are starting to make plans for their summer road trip adventures. If you'll be taking an extended road trip in the next few months, we've got some safety tips to make sure your tires are ready to roll.
The first thing to do as part of your summer road trip planning is to check tread depth and tire pressure before you hit the road.
Tire Tread: Tires should be replaced when they’re worn down to 2/32-inch of tread. Tire traction is the key to good accelerating, turning, and stopping under any conditions, but especially on wet surfaces. Just because it’s summer doesn’t mean you won’t find rain along the way.
Grab a penny: insert the penny in the shallowest tread groove with Lincoln's head pointing down and check in a few different places. If you're able to see the top of Lincoln's head, you should visit your nearest NEXEN Dealer for new tires before your trip. If you'll be doing much traveling on wet roads (for example: think about Florida thunderstorms during the summer), be extra cautious and ensure your tires have at least 4/32-inch of remaining tread depth. Perform the same test using a quarter instead of a penny: If the top of Washington’s head is showing you’ve reached 4/32’s of an inch and you may want to replace your tires to ensure best wet-weather handling.
Tire Pressure: Check your tire pressure in all five tires. Right, FIVE. Don't forget about your spare. Before you leave for your trip, check its pressure, and make sure you have everything you need to install it in the event of a flat.
Improper inflation can cause uneven tread wear, shorten lifespan, and decrease your car’s responsiveness. Over-inflated tires bulge like an over-inflated balloon, creating a smaller contact patch that limits grip and braking ability. Under-inflated tires offer less traction, wear out prematurely, and most importantly suffer unnoticeable and irreparable damage that compromises performance. Not only do under-inflated tires wear out faster, they're also more likely to overheat, leading to dangerous blowouts while traveling.
Finally, keeping your tire pressure at the recommended level can boost fuel efficiency by about a mile per gallon. According to the Department of Energy, driving on under-inflated tires can lower gas mileage by 0.3% for every 1 psi drop in pressure. The Department of Transportation estimates that 5 million gallons of fuel per day are wasted due to low tire pressure.
Remember, warmer weather can increase the rate at which tires lose air. Tires can lose more than two pounds of air pressure per month in the summer heat, so check tire pressure regularly, as underinflation is the leading cause of tire failure.
Overloading the vehicle creates excessive heat inside the tires, which increases tread wear and stress. If you're taking a long trip with lots of people and their stuff, be sure to read the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations for loading the vehicle (which can be found on the vehicle information placard located on the vehicle door edge or in the vehicle owners’ manual) before packing the trunk and the roof. And don't forget that your passengers count towards the total recommended vehicle weight.
Tires and wheels that are off-balance or misaligned can cause uneven wear and other problems, especially on long road trips in a fully packed vehicle. It’s a good idea to have a mechanic inspect vehicle alignment to avoid these issues before a long road trip.
Remember: Proper wheel alignment and balancing are important for safety and maximum mileage from your tires every day, not just when on an extended road trip.
If your road trip has you crossing state lines, be sure to brush up on the rules of the road in the states you will be traveling through. Traffic laws vary by state, so read up on local traffic regulations, especially those regarding right turns on a red light and speed limits (and radar detectors if you choose to use one).
Plan your route in advance and schedule your trip so you can avoid traffic, construction, or other delays. (If you get stuck, you can use the Waze app to help you find your way.) At the same time, allow yourself time for breaks and detours to see local landmarks along the way. The AAA suggests road trippers plan to take a rest stop every two hours or 100 miles to reduce fatigue; it also helps give your tires a chance to cool down along the way.
Visit www.NexenTireUSA.com for more information about tire care and maintenance, including this PDF of essential tire care. For more information or service visit www.NexenTireUSA.com and use the Dealer Finder to locate your nearest Authorized Nexen Dealer. You can also call the toll-free technical support number: 1-800-57-NEXEN (63936) / 1-866-70-NEXEN (63936). Follow NEXEN Tire on Facebook and Twitter for details on tire and car care tips, exciting contests, and more.
Be sure to join us at the Nexen Tire America Fall Back-to-School Twitter Party on Tuesday, August 25 at 5pm PDT / 8pm EDT. Get more information on the Nexen Tire Back-to-School Twitter Party here.