Tire Safety: How to Check Tire Health
It’s easy to overlook the maintenance of your Buick or GMC’s tires, but ensuring they are in good shape is important for your vehicle’s performance and your safety on the road. We recommend giving them a visual check once a month to make sure they’re within safe and legal standards so you can stay in control behind the wheel.
The best way to determine the condition of your Buick or GMC’s tires is to have them inspected by one of our service professionals at Jack Giambalvo Buick-GMC, but you can also do a visual check yourself.
What determines if your tires are healthy?
Healthy tires are properly inflated to the manufacturer’s recommendation, have adequate tread, and are free of any punctures, bulges, cracks, or other damage.
So, when you inspect your Buick or GMC’s tires, you’ll want to account for:
- Tire Pressure
- Tread Depth
- The Overall Condition (including any damage)
Having properly inflated tires ensures better stability, more traction, even wear, and less possibility of a blowout for your Buick or GMC. Good thing checking your tire pressure is quick and easy! All you need is a tire pressure gauge, your vehicle’s owner’s manual, and an air compressor which can be found at most gas stations.
To start, check the owner’s manual for the manufacturer’s recommended psi. Then, unscrew the air valve cap and press your gauge to get a reading of each tire’s current psi. If your pressure is too low, then fill it using an air compressor until it matches the recommended psi.
Remember, always check your pressure when your tires are ‘cold’ or rested at least 3 hours. If they’re hot or recently driven on, then adjust the proper pressure to 4psi above the recommended cold inflation pressure. Recheck them later when they’re cold to make sure they’re right.
Making sure the tread is deep enough on your tires is essential for safe driving. Worn tires compromise your grip on the road, which can delay your braking time, increase the risk of hydroplaning, and put you and your passenger’s safety in jeopardy.
Assess your tread depth with these standards:
- Good – 5/32” or above
- Replace Soon – 4/32”
- Replace Now – 3/32” or less
It’s illegal for the tread to be less than 2/32” deep, so monitor your tread closely once it gets below 4/32” deep.
To check your tread, simply use the Penny Test:
Insert a penny into a tread groove with Lincoln’s head upside down. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, then your tread is less than 2/32” and your tires have to be replaced.
Another way to check is to look at the tread wear indicator bars located in the grooves around the tire. When the bars are visibly flush with the rest of the tread, then you should replace them as soon as possible.
Condition & Damage
In addition to pressure and tread, solid sidewalls and a good overall condition is important for your tires’ health. Look for any irregular wear, cuts, bulges, cracks from dry rotting, or items lodged in the rubber-like nails, small stones, or thumbtacks. Any leaks should be patched by a professional.
Keep an eye on the age of your tires because even if the tread isn’t worn, they still may start coming apart and develop problematic bulges that can affect your Buick or GMC’s performance. We recommend replacing them no more than 10 years after they were manufactured.
If something looks suspicious but you aren’t sure if it’s affecting your drive, get a service professional to take a look. Better safe than sorry!