Road Trips Making A Comeback: Are Your Tires Ready?
August 20, 2020
Maybe you’ve been stuck in the same place, city, or state for quite a while. And your mind has been doing nothing but drifting your attention somewhere away from home, in places where you’d rather be but here. The thought of it makes you want to drop everything and leave.
But wait, reality hits you. You’re stuck in quarantine because of COVID-19.
Since the start of this global pandemic, air travel has been strongly discouraged by many countries and governments. This is to ensure the health and safety of both the airline staff and travelers. So how else are you going to enjoy a vacation or visit your family?
That’s right. By going on a road trip.
Because of the recent pandemic, with a series of imposed travel rules and bans, road trips have officially made a comeback. And aside from travel alone, road trips can also cause the economy to slowly recover from the effects of the global pandemic. With travelers on the road, restaurants, convenience stores, hotels, B&Bs, local arts, souvenirs, and tourism shops will surely be back in business. As the tourism sector slowly bounces back, so does the overall economy.
However, all of your best planning can all go down the drain if you can’t entirely depend on your car. A flat tire or a breakdown could leave you stranded in the middle of nowhere, miles away from where you need to be. While car care is necessary all year round, mandatory checks and preparations are most especially important before going on that long drive out of town. Here are some safety and maintenance tips to keep your tires up and running on a road trip:
Air Pressure Checks
Car tires are paramount to overall safety, efficiency, and comfort, so it’s only necessary that you check each tire’s condition before you leave. Underinflated tires consume more gas than expected or calculated. Consequently, overinflated tires make road trips worse due to lesser compliance. On top of that, the wrong air pressure could also cause your tires to wear out unevenly, gradually shortening a tire’s lifespan. Now, you wouldn’t want that.
To avoid any of this, make sure you check your tire pressures before you leave, and roughly every thousand miles as you travel. Most cars should tell you how much air pressure each tire will need in the manual or on a sticker on the driver’s side of the door. A significant change in temperature will also affect the air pressure, so be sure you check in on your tires again as you keep track of your environment when traveling.
Make Sure There’s Enough Tread To Travel
Worn out tires usually lose their grip and are therefore prone to hydroplaning. Hydroplaning happens when your car starts to slide uncontrollably due to each or all tires taking in more water than the treads can displace. When this happens, your car’s tires may lose contact with the pavement, causing it to slowly lose control. This is a common issue that needs to be addressed as soon as possible, as instances like this can cause road accidents.
With that, make sure you inspect your tire’s treads each time you plan on going on a road trip. A tread depth of about 2/32 inches typically indicates an already worn-out tire. Ideally, it would be best to start shopping for replacements when your tire tread reaches 4/32 inches.
Quick trick: Here at GoGulong, we call this the piso test. All you need is a one peso coin to check whether or not your tire tread is still in good condition. Simply insert the coin into the groove, with Jose Rizal’s head positioned upright. If the year at the bottom of the coin is partially covered, then your tire tread should be in good condition, and you’re ready to go on a road trip. However, if it falls anywhere below that (or deeper), then it’s time to change your rubber to also ensure safety.
Do Not Overload
Such an easy feat, but it’s actually one of the most complicated things when it comes to caring for your tires. You might be surprised when you find out that a lot of cars today are already considered stuffed to capacity with just a few adults, and without anything in the trunk or cargo area. So to make sure you’re not overloading, refer to your vehicle’s tire information manual or placard and keep in mind the allowable weight of all occupants and cargo combined.
Pay Close Attention
More than anything, pay close attention to how your tires are performing. Just because it seems like a minor issue doesn’t mean you have to postpone tire maintenance and checkups. Get down on your knees and actually inspect the current state of each tire. Above all, be sure you go for the high-quality tires (yes, even for your spare tires!) instead of the cheaper ones, as these can ensure you better performance and durability.
Safety is of utmost importance. So before you hop in your vehicle to go on that road trip, make sure you’ve ticked everything off of this list and have double, triple, and quadruple checked your tires. Here’s to better, longer, and safer road travels!
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