Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. recommends drivers engage in routine tire maintenance, checking that their tires are in the proper condition to deal with potentially hazardous road conditions this winter season.
"People should engage in simple and easy tire maintenance at least once a month; but it’s especially important to do this during the wintertime, when unpredictable weather can have an impact on road conditions and driving in general,” said Chuck Yurkovich, vice president of global technology for Cooper.
With many drivers choosing to leave all-season tires on vehicles for winter driving, ongoing maintenance becomes even more critical as industry reports indicate that 11% or about 28 million vehicles have at least one bald tire, and 55% of vehicles have at least one underinflated tire.
Cooper advises drivers to conduct the following do-it-yourself maintenance checks:
Examine tread Tire tread depth should be more than 2/32 of an inch deep all around the tire. Drivers can check this by using a U.S. penny. Insert the edge of the coin into the tread with Lincoln going in headfirst. If the top of Lincoln’s head is covered by tread, that means there is at least a minimum acceptable amount of tread; if the top of his head is visible at any location on the tire, the tire is worn out and it’s time to replace it. For winter weather driving, the more tread depth, the better.
Also look for signs of uneven wear or damage such as cuts, cracks, splits, punctures and bulges. These conditions shorten the life of tires and if not corrected, further tire damage or air loss may occur, Cooper said.
Test air pressure Tire pressure decreases by about one psi for every 10-degree drop in outside air temperature. Follow the guidelines found in the vehicle owner’s manual or tire placard (or sticker) attached to the vehicle door edge to determine the correct air pressure for their vehicle. Air pressure should be checked when the tires are cool.
“In areas that typically experience harsh winters, drivers may want to consider replacing their all-season tires with a product made specifically for that severe climate,” Yurkovich said. “The key is to have those discussions with a trusted dealer before the first storm hits. Preparedness is key.”
For information on products offered by Cooper Tire & Rubber Co., visit http://www.coopertire.com.