Linxup Blog

The Importance of Tire Maintenance

By Jay Black Back to Home on May 15, 2017
Tire Maintenance

Your tires are the only part of your vehicle that comes in contact with the road. They're your first line of defense against inclement weather, and they can significantly impact driver safety, vehicle handling, and fuel economy.

Regular tire maintenance is an important part of your ongoing preventive maintenance schedule. Routine inspections can help you identify small problems like uneven tread wear before they become major issues, which will save your business money in the long term by increasing the lifespan of your tires and reducing the likelihood of other, more expensive repairs. Monthly inspections are recommended, but if you drive over a pothole, live in a cold climate, or drive long distances, you may wish to inspect your tires more frequently.

For the best performance, your tires should:

  • Be properly inflated to the correct air pressure.
  • Have good, even tread.
  • Be properly balanced and aligned.

Poorly maintained tires can lead to premature wear and tear, flats, and even blowouts. With a Linxup GPS tracking system, you can ensure that your tires are inspected regularly by creating automated maintenance reminders. Reminders can be configured based on distance driven or time passed, depending on what best suits your fleet.

Learn more about managing your active maintenance reminders – watch this video:

Inspecting your tires

There are two components to inspecting your tires:

  • Visual inspection
  • Driving inspection

Visual tire inspection

Visual tire inspections should be performed monthly. When you're inspecting your tires, keep your eyes open for the following:

  • Overinflating or underinflating: In addition to prolonging the life of your tires, proper inflation can improve your fuel economy by up to 3%. If your tires are overinflated, the middle of the tire will make more contact with the road, which increases wear and tear along the center of the tire. If your tires are underinflated, the outer edges will make more contact with the road, leading to increased wear and tear and decreased handling abilities.

  • Tread: Your tires depend on good tread for traction. When checking tread, look for four things:

1. Tread wear on one edge of the tire. This typically indicates misalignment.

2. Erratic tread wear, also known as “cupping”. This can signal unbalanced wheels, or that your shock absorbers or other components need replacement.

3. Raised portions of tread or on the sidewall. This means the tire is breaking down internally and requires replacement.

4. Anything stuck in your tires, such as nails, screws, stones, and bolts.

The penny test is a common and simple way to check your tread. Take a penny and slide Lincoln's head, hair first, into the tread.

Penny Test

If the top of his head is visible, your tires have enough tread. If you can see his full head, it's time to consult a mechanic and change your tires. Check the outer and inner edges, as well as the center of your tires.

Driving Inspection

While you're driving, pay attentiong to:

  • Unusual vibrations or noises. These can indicate an unbalanced tire, a flat spot in your tread, or a tire with a separated belt.
  • Pulling to one side. If your vehicle pulls or drifts to one side, you may have an alignment issue or an underinflated or damaged tire.

Tire Maintenance

There are a few things you can do in addition to performing monthly tire inspections to help prolong the life of your tires, reduce fuel consumption, and increase your driver safety.

Inflation

Checking tire inflation is a key component of performing a visual inspection, but don't rely entirely on what you see. Always check your tire pressure using a tire pressure gauge; a tire can lose 50% of its PSI without appearing like it has lost any pressure at all. Be sure to check your spare tire as well.

Tire rotation

Your front and rear tires carry different loads, and as such will wear differently. Rotating your tires every 7,000-10,000 miles can help prevent uneven wear and tear, as well as prolong the life of your suspension by reducing unnecessary vibration.

Tire balancing

Balancing your tires limits vibration and helps eliminate uneven wear and tear.

Alignment

Alignment problems can lead to uneven wear and tear, poor fuel economy, and handling issues. Your business's vehicles should drive straight down the road without drifting or pulling to one side. If you notice drifting and pulling, get your vehicle checked—these symptoms can indicate other issues.

Never miss an inspection again

With a Linxup GPS tracking system, you can make sure that you and your drivers never miss a routine tire inspection again. Simply input maintenance histories for each vehicle in your fleet and create automatic email and text message reminders when scheduled maintenance is due.

Learn more about creating automated maintenance reminders with Linxup.