Tire maintenance important for safety, vehicle life
July 23, 2012 at 2:23 a.m.
More information on tire safety is available online at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's website. To learn more, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's website.
Did you know ... ?
• Backseat passengers who wear seatbelts are 44 percent more likely to survive crashes inside passenger cars than unrestrained passengers are. They're 73 percent more likely to survive crashes in vans or SUVs than unrestrained passengers.
• Texas law requires all drivers and passengers to wear seatbelts. That includes adults in the backseat.
• Children younger than 8 years old must be in a safety seat or booster seat unless they are taller than 4 feet, 9 inches.
Source: Click It or Tick It Texas website
Tire maintenance is key when it comes to a smooth ride and safe travels.
A weekend wreck brought that message close to home in the Crossroads.
A one-vehicle wreck on Sunday killed 11 people at the scene, while another three later died at area hospitals, after the pickup truck's right front tire lost its tread.
Harrison Peterson, who owns Victoria's P&H Tire Co., encouraged people to keep tires inflated according to manufacturer recommendations. That information is often located on a placard inside the driver's door, he said, but is also available from any company that offers tire services.
Under-inflated tires not only make for a less even ride, but can also lower gas mileage and affect the vehicle's weigh capacity, he explained.
Tread is another important element, Peterson said, noting a simple test to know when one's tires are low.
Stick a penny into the tread, he advised, with Lincoln's head upside-down. If you can see the top of his head, it's too low and it's time for new tires.
Peterson encouraged even people who didn't often use their vehicles to have the tires checked at least every few years.
"Even if you don't have many miles on them, they're still 6 years old," he said. "They've been exposed to the elements for six years. There could be problems."
Frequent checks can play a big role in catching trouble before it happens, said Jesus Lopez, a tire technician with Wharton County Tire Co.
He urged drivers to check their tires regularly for any possible issues. Any tire shop can check air pressure, he said, and it just takes a few minutes.
When it comes to other upkeep, he said oil changes provided helpful reminders. Rotate tires at every change, he advised, and have them balanced every two changes.
Such ongoing maintenance not only ensures safety, Lopez said, but also extends a tire's life.
"A tire that would get 50,000 miles might only get 30,000," he said. "Then you're just wasting money."