Vehicle maintenance is an important task that helps with safety on the road, but one aspect that is often neglected is ensuring that you have proper tires and correct tire inflation. Checking for the correct tire inflation is a very important part of the routine inspection of your vehicle. Ignoring this element could affect your safety, the safety of your passengers, and your insurance coverage. Further, in addition to increasing your overall safety, having the proper tires and correct tire inflation for your vehicle can improve your fuel economy.
The Importance of Proper Tires
It is important to always have the proper sized tires for your vehicle, which you can verify in your owner’s manual. An ill-fitting set of tires, including different sized tires on the same vehicle, can create serious safety problems. Two different pairs of tires will move differently when you steer.
It also critical to have a safe tire depth, which is usually measured in 1/32 inch increments. Tires are considered unsafe for use when one or more of their grooves reaches 2/32 of an inch deep, compared with about 10/32 of an inch for new tires. Most tire shops will check your tire treads at no charge to ensure your safety.
When you get your tires checked, mechanics also check for uneven tread wear around the edge of a tire, which could indicate an improper wheel alignment. A wheel alignment may be recommended after the tires are replaced. Rotating the tires at each oil change can also help to avoid alignment issues, as your front tires tend to wear quicker since they are leaned on when turning.
Winter tires can also help to reduce the likelihood of having a winter automobile accident. Winter tires provide control, traction and safety in freezing and below freezing temperatures, using a technology whereby specialized soft rubber remains flexible in harsh winter conditions to grip the road. By contrast, all-season tires do not grip the road well in the winter.
Fortunately, the benefits of installing winter tires are gaining attention in Ontario. Although winter tires are not required as they are in Quebec, insurance companies are now required to provide a discount for the installation of winter tires for drivers who are renewing their auto insurance policy or entering intoa new one in 2016. Although the discount amount was not specified when the Minister of Finance announced it at the April 2015 Ontario provincial budget, the common winter tire discount in the insurance industry prior to it being mandated was 5 percent.
The Importance of Correct Tire Pressure
The importance of making it a habit to check your tire pressure monthly to ensure you have the correct level of air pressure in your tires at all times cannot be understated. According to a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, vehicles driven on tires that are underinflated by more than 25 percent are three times more likely to be involved in a crash than vehicles with proper inflation. Tire pressure monitoring systems that are designed to alert a driver of a tire losing air pressure should not be used as a substitute for monthly tire pressure checks as they can fail as well.
To properly control the pressure of your tires, you will first need to know what the recommended tire pressure level is for your vehicle, from your owner’s manual. You can then use a tire gauge and air compressor to ensure that your tire is inflated to the required amount. If a tire is overinflated, the pressure may cause an uneven tread wear, degrade the vehicle ride and comfort, and increase the susceptibility to impact damage. When a tire is inflated less than the manufacturer’s recommended level, then the pressure may similarly cause uneven tread wear and potentially a fatigue breakdown of the tire’s internal structure, resulting in a tread separation or other structural failure. Hydroplaning on wet pavement is also more likely when tires are underinflated.
Your tire pressure will drop as the outdoor temperature drops, which is why, in the winter, it is recommended that you check your tire pressure at least once monthly when the tires are cold (i.e., not in your warm garage). Your tire pressure may also change when your vehicle is overloaded. The pressure should be checked if you hear noise when you turn the corner or if you notice that the handling or steering of your vehicle has changed. Further, if you notice a slow leak, then you should have the tire checked as a small nail, screw or other object could puncture the tire and act as an inefficient plug. These precautionary measures will avoid bad handling (and perhaps even loss of control), save you fuel costs and also prevent loss of the tires’ expected life span.
Keeping You Safe at Howard Yegendorf & Associates
At Howard Yegendorf & Associates, our accident lawyers in Ottawa try to help reduce the risk of accidents as we see many injured victims from preventable auto accidents. We also have accident reconstruction experts that can help if there is a suspicion that an at-fault driver had improper tires or tire pressure. We can review the details of an accident and discuss your legal options with you. If you need a personal injury lawyer in Ottawa or the surrounding area, call us at 1-866-303-5118.