When it comes to your safety on the road, tires are the first line of defense.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are about 11,000 tire-related accidents every year, so tire upkeep is essential. NHTSA notes that regular tire maintenance lengthens their lifespan, helps improve vehicle handling and increases fuel economy—up to 11 cents per gallon.
Three simple steps can help make sure your tires are in good condition:
- Check pressure every month
- Avoid overloading your vehicle
- Rotate them every 5,000 miles
Here’s a fascinating look at the inner workings of one of the most important parts of your vehicle:
The part of the tire that makes contact with the road, channeling away water, snow, mud and ice through the tread pattern, or grooves, for maximum grip.
A series of cords that are combined to form layers, or plies. These pass radially over the inner layer of the tire to provide structure for the air chamber and to strengthen it to withstand impact.
Need to Know
Information like maximum cold inflation pressure, maximum load and tire size can be found on the sidewall.
Rubber-encased wires, wound into bundles and found underneath the body plies, help secure the tire to the rim.
Reinforced rubber coating on the outer side of the tire that covers the plies and other internal parts, protecting them from damage and exposure to the elements.
The layer of rubber-and-steel cords between the tread and plies that adds further strength to the tire by absorbing external shock. It keeps the tread flat against the surface of the road, improving handling.