Coffee with a Side of Caution: Safer Tires in 3 Easy Steps

Woman opening car with keys while holding coffeeIt’s difficult to overstate the importance of maintaining your vehicle’s tires. After all, your life is riding on them! Yet, tire issues such as tread separation, blowouts, and bald tires contribute to 1 out of every 11 crashes, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. The problem is, tire maintenance is often seen as an inconvenience. But what if you could make checking your tires an easy part of a morning trip to your local coffee shop? Turns out, you can! Here’s how:

Before heading to the coffee shop in the morning…

check your tire pressure.

For the most accurate reading this is best done before the car has been driven, since tire pressure expands under the heat and friction of driving. You can get an effective tire pressure gauge for less than the cost of many drinks at some coffee shops. Use our easy online tool to find your recommended tire pressure.

With this number in mind, you can stop off and inflate your tires to the recommended pressure on the way to grab your coffee. Doing so could even help you stash some cash for your next caffeine run! It’s estimated that properly inflated tires can save you up to $65/year on gas and $5/year by increasing your tire life, reports RightPSI, not to mention give you more responsive braking and a smoother ride. Speaking of…

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As you drive to the coffee shop…

pay attention to the ride.

Is your car pulling in one direction? Do you hear a thumping noise? Feel an unusual vibration? Any one of these symptoms could indicate problems with one or more of your tires, like under-inflation or imbalance. They could also indicate a need for tire rotation, which is generally recommended every 6,000-8,000 miles. Without regular tire rotations, you risk a variety of tire problems, the worst of them being a blowout or tire failure. If your ride feels “off,” stop by or make an appointment at your local Firestone Complete Auto Care for a tire inspection. Leaving things out of balance leaves more room for damage!

Buy your coffee with cash and…

use a penny to check tread depth.

Back at your car, use a penny to check each tire’s tread in three locations: its outer, inner, and center areas. Insert the coin into a tread groove in each of these locations with Lincoln’s head pointed down, toward the center of the tire. If part of Lincoln’s head is always covered by the tread, you likely have more than 2/32 of an inch of tread depth remaining and probably don’t need a new set of tires. If his head is fully visible, it’s time to talk to your local Firestone Complete Auto Care technician about investing in your safety, i.e. buying new tires. Your tires may not have sufficient tread to grip the road as they were intended to. This could compromise your car’s handling in inclement weather and your ability to come to a quick stop.

Testing tire tread depth with a pennyTest tire tread depth with a penny


Inflate, rotate and evaluate!

You may not realize it, but you just learned three of the most important tire safety practices: inflate, rotate, and evaluate! You learned about your vehicle’s recommended tire pressure, signs you may need a tire rotation or inspection, and how to evaluate a tire’s tread with a handy penny. See how taking care of your tires can be simple? And all on your way to grab some coffee! Visit your nearest Firestone Complete Auto Care for help with any of the above and watch our animated tire safety video below to keep learning!

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