YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Before heading out on summer vacation, experts say drivers should make sure their tires are in good condition to make the trip.
Michael Spowart, of Cincinnati, does a routine walk around his car every 100 miles to inspect the tires. He looks for marks, tears and changes in air pressure.
“A buddy of mine had a bad incident, an accident that could’ve been prevented. I’ve learned from the mistakes of others, tried to anyways.”
Tom Gangi is a former truck driver who logged hundreds of thousands of miles. He was always listening for vibrations and using a gauge to check for soft tires.
“I found out for safety, you gotta be checking these types of things,” Gangi said. “Especially in the hot weather, is the toughest time on tires.”
At Pitstop Auto Care in Hubbard, Bob Pagely sees thousands of tires each year. He says that most people don’t really think about them.
“If there was an inspection here in the state of Ohio, nine out of ten cars that come through here wouldn’t pass.”
Tires are expensive and many drivers will run on them until they have no traction. Pagely says that whether you’re taking a road trip or just driving across town, it’s worth checking your tires frequently.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says a tire 25 percent under its recommended pressure is almost three times more likely to be involved in a tire-related crash than one inflated to the correct pressure.
Pagely says drivers should also watch for dry rot and check the tread.
Dry rot is caused by UV exposure and creates cracks in the rubber, which can cause a blowout.
Police say a possible tire blowout may have caused a crash in Florida that killed three and injured eight, including a 3-year-old who was thrown over a 30-foot wall.
To check a tire’s tread, place a quarter upside down in one of its grooves. If George Washington’s entire head is visible, the tire needs replaced.
Other tips to increase a tire’s longevity is to perform regular rotations and vehicle maintenance, avoid obstructions like potholes and be aware of how temperature affects tire pressure.
Experts say that after five years, tires should be thoroughly inspected by a professional once a year. After ten years, they should be replaced as a precaution.