Don’t Tread on Vehicle Safety

Keeping your tires in good working condition is one of the most important mechanical factors in vehicle safety. There are ways you can improve the safety and performance of your tires.

Keep your tires properly inflated, checking them at least twice a month to determine whether of not the tire pressure is getting low. Incorrect tire pressure can cause uneven tire wear, poor handling, excessive heat build up, and possible tire failure. Refer to your vehicle manual for recommended tire pressures. If you have new tires installed, check their pressure.Recommended tire pressures can vary depending on the brand of tire. Check tire pressure first thing in the morning for an accurate reading. Driving the car heats up the tires and changes their pressure. Rotating your tires is also essential. Follow the rotation schedule in your owner’s manual. Keep your tires properly balanced and aligned. Having out-of-balance tires can produce an uneven ride and can result in poor handling. A defective alignment can cause excessive tire wear, and it can cause your vehicle to pull to the side.

Tires should be replaced when the tread gets too low. But how do you know when it’s time? All tires have “tread wear” indicators built into them. These indicators are molded into the bottom of the tread groves and will appear as “bands” when the tread depth reduces to the size of 1/16th of an inch. When the indicators appear in two or more adjacent grooves, the tire should be replaced. Refer to the vehicle’s manual for more information. The manual will usually show a picture of what the tread wear indicators will look like. Inspect your tires regularly, and if you have any doubts about the safety, have a professional check them out.

June 2012 Article edited and re-printed from Safety News, published by the State Compensation Insurance Fund.

California Distributors Association’s safety coordinator is Ted Machado. Please contact Ted ( if you have any questions concerning employee safety. Also, for your reference and convenience, we have a workers’ compensation safety video library available upon request.

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