They are your vehicle’s only connection to the road, yet most of the time your tires are the last thing you think about. Despite being viewed by many drivers as simply round and black, today’s tires are more technologically advanced than ever before. You paid a lot for the technological advancements designed into your vehicle, from traction control to stability control or a sport suspension, but your tires are the only things translating those benefits to the road; if they aren’t up to the task, you won’t get the full benefit from your investment.

Due to normal wear however, you need to change your vehicle’s tires about every 60,000 km.

What can go wrong with my tires?

More than 30% of cars and light trucks have under inflated tires. This means:

  • Lower gas mileage – For each pound of under inflation, your gas mileage can drop up to one percent.
  • Tire failure – Under inflation is the leading cause of tire failure.
  • Faster tread wear – Lower tire pressure also causes the tread to wear out faster, forcing premature tire replacement.
  • Poor handling – The point where the tire meets the road is a crucial element in determining the ride control of your vehicle. Under inflation prevents your ride control system from functioning properly.

The proper tire pressure is available to you in a number of locations in the owner’s manual or on the door jam or doorpost. Many vehicles now also have a sticker on the interior of the gas cap. The pressure listed on the exterior of the tire is the maximum pressure that the tire should be inflated to, not necessarily the ideal pressure. Always take the tire’s pressure when the tires are cold, meaning they’ve been driven less than 2 km. Tires will lose about one pound per square inch (PSI) for every 10-degree drop in the temperature. Tires will also lose pressure over time, about one PSI per month. To improve the life of your tires, rotate them on a regular basis – every 8,000 to 12000 kilometres, or about every other oil change is a good rule of thumb.