Heading Home For The Holidays: Is Your Car Ready For The Long Drive?

December 21, 2018

Your bags are packed, you have snacks prepared for the drive, and the kids are snugly tucked in in the back seat. You are all set for that long drive home for the holidays! Or are you?

One of the most important parts of any vehicles is the tires; imagine having to deal with a flat or busted tire 2 hours away from home or from the nearest talyer. It is therefore vital to ensure that your tires are in tip-top condition and all set for that long drive. Here is a checklist of what needs to be checked out when it comes to your tires for safe and worry-free drive.

Tire pressure

Firstly, be sure to check your tires only after they have cooled down, about 3 hours after you have parked your vehicle. The key issue to look out for is an underinflated tire, and it is recommended that you DO NOT wait until the vehicle’s car tire-pressure monitoring alert shows before taking action as, by the time the warning light turns on, the tires would have been underinflated by at least 25% which would mean they are in urgent need of a fix-up already. 

The tires on your vehicle should be of the correct pressure and this differs with every tire. You can check the specific tired inflation pressures for your vehicle on the sticker on the vehicle’s doorjamb or placard that is usually placed on the door on the driver’s side.  

Overinflated tires can lead to a shorter shelf life as the tread section will wear out more quickly and more easily. Tires that are overinflated also tend to lose traction more easily which may lead to the vehicle spinning or losing control on the road.  Underinflated tires are not only dangerous but can also leave a large hole in your pocket; they are less fuel-efficient and build up heat at a faster speed which increases the chances of a blow out which may lead to accidents. 

Tire tread

The tread of the tire are the grooves that run along the side of the tire that come into contact with the ground. When these grooves become too shallow (they DO wear out over time), the chances of the vehicle losing control on the ground, especially during rainy conditions, increase. As such, it is important that you check the tire tread before heading on your road trip. 

The best tool to check your tire treads are already in your tires themselves. Tires for performance, medium commercial tires, and for light trucks are equipped with indicator bars (or wear bars) embedded between the tread ribs at 2/32”. These indicators exist to help you monitor your tire treads and make decisions whether to replace a tire or not. Simply check if the tread is flush with the indicator bars. If tread is flush, it means that you’re due to replace your tire.

Foreign objects

The last thing you want is to lose time on your drive by having to take a last minute, emergency visit to the garage to change your tires because of something that you could have prevented had you done your due diligence before. So, as part of your tire check, look out for any foreign objects that may be stuck in your tires such as small pieces of glass, a sharp rock or pebble, or a small nail. While they are not enough to outright puncture your tires, they may cause the tires to lose pressure a little at a time over a long time, and it won’t be long before you find yourself stuck with an inflated tire in the middle of the highway. 

With all these factors in mind when giving your tires a thorough check-up, it is also important that you take note not to overload your vehicle which will add stress and burden to your tires, making them more susceptible to failing while you are en route to your destination. 

There is nothing more important than the safety of you, the driver, and of your passengers when embarking on a long road trip, and to ensure this, you have to take good care of your vehicle so that it can take good care of you. Have a joyous holiday, and remember to drive safe.