Maintaining Your Tires Properly

by : Gregg Hall

Many people do not realize how important it is to take proper care of their tires for better fuel economy. Caring for your tires is important to prolong the life of the tires but it is also a crucial factor in fuel economy. Keeping your tires rotated, inflated to the right PSI and having the wheels properly aligned and balanced can drastically increase your gas mileage.

Proper tire inflation is a major culprit in poor fuel economy. If you are like most drivers you probably don't fully recognize the magnitude of how improperly inflated tires can adversely affect fuel economy. If your tires are under inflated it causes them to be softer and can lessen your gas mileage by as much as four percent if you are running ten pounds under, on the other hand if your tires are inflated properly it can increase your gas mileage by over three percent.

When tires are kept at their recommended air pressure it not only gives you a better ride and superior handling but also allows for optimum gas mileage. You should keep the tires inflated at the recommended pressure that is indicated on the driver's side door. If there is a range instead of a certain number you should inflate the tires to the higher number to maximize your gas mileage. It is also important to be sure that they are inflated evenly.

In the winter your tires need even more attention because they will lose a pound of pressure for every ten degrees that the temperature drops. The air pressure in your tires goes down in cold temperatures and this just adds to the resistance that is caused by slush and snow. You should check your tires more frequently in the winter time and be sure that all of your tires are inflated equally. Be sure to have your own tire gauge because many times those at service stations are inaccurate.

You should also rotate your tires to be sure that the wear is distributed evenly over all of your tires. You can find the tire rotation pattern in the owner's manual for your automobile and you should do this a couple of times a year. You also should be aware that the types of tires used affect gas mileage as well.

When it is time to replace one of your tires you should look at your owner's manual to see the tires recommended for your vehicle. If you have a local tire service person that you trust you can ask them for recommendations as well. Look for tires with low rolling resistance.

Wheel alignment is another crucial aspect that should not be overlooked. If your wheels are improperly aligned they can cause unnecessary friction which also cuts fuel economy as well as the life of the tires.