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Tire Maintenance Is Especially Important in Winter

Although winters in Louisiana and Alabama are mild compared with most other places in the U.S., road conditions can be wet, icy, and even occasionally snowy. It’s very important to assess the condition of your tires so you can feel secure when driving this winter and minimize your risk of an accident.

Tire Maintenance Tips

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to check the condition of your tires and take care of them. Unlike some of the mechanical parts of your car, tires are easy to see and inspect. You can inspect them in your driveway or wherever you’re parked.

  • Walk around your vehicle and look to see if any tires are low or flat.
  • Check for bulges, gashes, or foreign objects lodged in the tire.
  • Check for other signs of wear such as cut, cracked, or worn sidewalls.
  • Check if tire tread is worn more in some areas of the tire.

Give your tires a monthly penny test. Take a penny and place it so Abe Lincoln’s head is in the deepest part of the tread. Check several treads on each tire. If you can see the top of Abe’s head it’s time for new tires. Rotating your tires every 3,000 to 5,000 miles helps prevent uneven tread wear too.

The Rubber Manufacturers Association recommends checking tire air pressure at least once a month, even if your vehicle has a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS). It’s also recommended to check tire pressure if there is a big drop in temperature, as every ten-degree drop in temperature reduces air pressure by one or two pounds per square inch. Operating a tire gauge is quick and easy, and you can purchase one at your local auto parts store. Otherwise, go to a service center to have tire pressure checked. To get the most accurate tire pressure level reading, do it before you drive in the morning or wait until tires have cooled – about 30 minutes after parking.

You will need to know how many pounds per square inch (psi) your auto manufacturer recommends for your vehicle, which is based on the size of the tires and the load the car is designed to carry. Locate this information in the car manual, on the driver’s side door jamb, or by Googling the car make and model year. When you buy new tires ask your tire dealer what the psi rating is, as it may be different than your last set of tires.

It’s a dangerous myth that underinflated tires give better traction on ice and snow. Properly inflated tires give you the best traction which is critical during winter months when road conditions are poor. Underinflation increases the likelihood of tire damage or a blowout. Properly inflated tires save money too, by improving gas mileage, reducing gas emissions, and increasing the longevity of your tires.

Do I Need Winter Tires?

Even in northern Louisiana and Alabama, it’s unusual for vehicle owners to buy winter tires. All season tires are a good choice to get you through the winter months. Use these driving strategies when driving conditions are at their worst.

  • Reduce your speed in half.
  • Follow the car in front of you at double the distance.
  • Gently tap the brakes to reduce slipping and sliding.

Practice tire maintenance routines and stay safe this winter, and all year round. USAgencies has the best auto insurance available at the lowest rates. We’ll be happy to give you a quote over the phone or online. Call (800) 420-3712 to speak with a live agent or get your free auto insurance quote online.