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Winter Tire Safety Checklist

With winter around the corner again, winter tire safety is an important issue that all drivers should pay attention to. Bald and faulty tires can lead to dangerous driving and devastating accidents. Drivers must know what to check for and how to make sure they are driving on safe tires.

Here is a short check list with tips on how to keep you and your family safe:

1. Check your tire pressure every month. Do not forget to check the spare. Many gas stations’ tire-pressure gauges over report the pressure, so it is better to do your own test with a personal gauge. Do not rely on sight alone. A tire could be under inflated and not look it. Also, always check your pressure before a long trip.

2. Inspect tires regularly for uneven wear, cracks, bits of glass or debris, and other signs of tire damage. Regularly get your tires rotated so that they wear evenly.

3. Regularly inspect the tread on your tires. A tire is bald if it has 1/16th of an inch of less of tread depth. Most tires have a built in treadwear indicators that let you know when it is time to replace the tires.  When the indicators are level with the outside of the tread, the tires are bald and need to be replaced.

4. Conduct a quarter test instead of a penny test. Traditionally, the test for checking tire tread was to place a penny within the tread. If the top of Lincoln’s head was exposed, then the tread was below 1/16th of an inch and the tires needed to be replaced. A better and safer way to check tire treads is to use a quarter. A quarter will show when a tire is worn to 1/8 of an inch, a safer level for tread wear.

5. If your tires are more than six years old, even if the number of miles is under the recommended life amount of 60,000- 80,000, consider getting new tires. Rubber can become weaker over time and older tires are more prone to blowouts which can lead to dangerous accidents.

For more tips and advice on tire safety, visit National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for the brochure, “Tire Safety: Everything Rides on It” and another safety checklist.

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