If you’re heading out on the road this Independence Day weekend, check this before you go

Published: Jun. 30, 2022 at 5:49 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 30, 2022 at 6:46 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Some 42 million Americans plan to travel this Independence Day weekend.
Many people remember to pack everything they need and get the car tuned up before leaving on a road trip. There’s one essential thing to check on as well.

“The biggest thing that people don’t look at prior to a big road trip is checking their tires,” said Chase Malin, a Discount Tire Store Manager in Springfield who’s about to take over a new store in Branson.

It may seem simple and unimportant, but nobody wants to deal with blow-outs or flat tires on vacation. At the least, it’s inconvenient. At the worst, it could lead to a deadly accident.

“If you think about it, they’re just as important as the brakes,” Malin pointed out. “They’re the one thing keeping you connected to the road, and without the proper tread-depth, if you run into any kind of rain, hydroplaning becomes a big issue. And you also take into consideration heat. Heat is the number one enemy of tires, specifically in the summertime and especially on long road trips.”

Underinflated tires get more wear and tear when the heat builds up, and 70 percent of drivers say they go more than a month without checking their tires’ air pressure.

“Checking the air pressure monthly is vital to tire wear and safety,” Malin said. “On the inside of your driver door, you’re going to see a plaque that has your front-tire size and your cold inflation tire pressure, and that’s what you want to air your tires up to. And there are times when you’ll see different tire pressures for your front-and-back tires.”

The other major thing you should do is check the depth of your tire tread using a penny.

“Put the penny in the tread-groove upside down with Lincoln’s head facing down,” Malin explained. “If you can’t see the top of Lincoln’s head, your tires are in a safe spot. If you do that and can see his complete head, your tire needs to be replaced.”

The less tread depth you have, the longer it takes for your car to stop on wet pavement. So make sure you keep up with your tire’s health.

“The biggest thing is going to be tire age and tread when you’re looking to replace your tire,” Malin said. “Manufacturers recommend replacement at six years old or 3/32″ of the tread.”

Many tire dealers will offer free tire inspections, including a check of the pressure and tread wear.

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