During the first few weeks of 2022, AAA Oklahoma’s Roadside Rescuers responded to an average of 89 calls a day for tire issues from its members.
That’s higher than in 2019, when more were commuting to offices and in-person activities. It’s why AAA is alerting motorists to the dangers of neglecting critical tire maintenance. Left unchecked it can result in increased expense or even worse, tragedy on the road.
AAA research indicates that when driving on worn tires at highway speeds, stopping distances increase by a staggering 43 percent compared to new tires, putting drivers and their passengers at increased risk.
Tires need to be properly inflated to adjust for colder temperatures. Those that aren’t are more likely to result in a flat or blowout and tires with worn tread are more likely to result in a crash. AAA urges drivers to check tread depth, replace tires proactively and increase following distances significantly when roadways are wet or snow-covered.
“Oklahoma’s winter temperature swings take a toll on tires, and wet road conditions just worsen chances of problems,” said Kevin Lynch, AAA Oklahoma car care manager. “Periodically checking air pressure, tread, alignment and rotating tires is key to motorists avoiding wear and tear that shortens tire life.”
Lynch said some have altered habits or routines they had prior to the pandemic for tire inspection and maintenance.
In addition, AAA urges drivers to carry a spare tire in case maitenance is necessary. As automakers strive to reduce weight and improve fuel economy, many new cars are not equipped with spare tires. In 2021, AAA Oklahoma rescued 41,493 members with tire-related issues. More than one-third of those calls were for a flat tire without a usable spare. Vehicles that do not come with a spare tire as standard equipment, create unnecessary hassle and expense for drivers.
To help motorists avoid the need for emergency roadside service, AAA Car Care, Insurance and Travel Centers in central Oklahoma offer free tire inspections by appointment and 24/7 self-serve air stations.
Keeping your vehicle’s tires properly inflated to the automaker’s recommended pressures is a critical element of tire maintenance. Tires that contain the specified amount of air pressure last longer and contribute to vehicle safety.
Check tire inflation pressure on all four tires and the spare.
As the average temperature drops, so will tire pressures – typically by one PSI for every 10 degrees.
The proper tire pressure levels can be found in the owner’s manual or on a sticker typically located on the driver’s side door jamb. Do not use the pressure molded into the tire sidewall.
Adequate tread depth is necessary for a tire to maintain traction on slippery roads.
Insert a quarter into a tread groove with the top of Washington’s head facing down. If the top of his head is not visible, your tires are fine for continued use. If you can see above the top of Washington’s head, it is time to start shopping for new tires. Take multiple measurements across the tread to help ensure accurate results.
For more tips to ensure the performance and safety of your tires, visit AAA.com/TheExtraMile.