Properly functioning tires are some of the most important parts of your vehicle to keep it safe and running at optimal performance. Unfortunately, purchasing new tires is one of the most expensive automobile maintenance costs. To reduce your costs and stay safe, follow these easy tips.

Maintain air pressure

One of the simplest, but most commonly ignored, tips for extending tire life is maintaining an appropriate level of air pressure. Each vehicle and tire is different, so be sure to keep your tires inflated to a level within the minimum and maximum range recommended for your specific tires.

This is important because improper PSI (pounds per square inch) lowers your fuel efficiency, and under-inflation leaves your tires at risk of overheating, causing extreme wear, and even experiencing a potential blowout. Routine checks to maintain air pressure will improve mileage and vehicle safety.

Regular rotations

Driving causes uneven wear on your tires because of the physical forces acting on your vehicle between the front and rear axles. Routine tire rotations will counteract the physical wear on your tires and save you money in the long term by reducing tire replacements.

A good rule of thumb is to rotate your tires roughly every six months or six thousand miles, whichever comes sooner.

Wheel alignments

Another maintenance procedure that will help you get the most out of your tires is a wheel alignment. Some of the major benefits of a wheel alignment are increasing tire life, creating a smoother driving experience, and preventing wear and tear of steering and suspension systems.

Wheel alignments should not occur as frequently as tire rotations. Although several rotations each year may be recommended for your vehicle, investing in an alignment every two to three years is generally sufficient.

Winterize

For those who live in northern climates where the typical winter involves snow and ice, winter tires are often a critical component of safe driving. They extend the lifetime of your regular tires by protecting them from exposure to extreme winter conditions such as low temperatures, snow, and ice.

Keep in mind, winter tires are more than just "snow tires," as they provide more control when ground surface temperatures are cold and not necessarily icy. They also offer increased safety and better stopping power than "all season" tires. To get the most out of your winter tires, switch back to regular tires when temperatures consistently exceed forty degrees.

Purchasing winter tires or paying for maintenance such as tire rotations or wheel alignments can be costly out-of-pocket expenses. Making those investments, however, will increase the long-term performance and safety of your vehicle.

An auto repair credit card offered through Credit First National Association can help you pay for those necessary purchases.

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