Tire Care Tips for Your Parked Car
April 17th, 2020
Spending a lot less time in your car lately? Yeah, us too. With vehicles sitting idle for longer periods right now, it's the perfect time to perform some basic tire inspections. Check out these “at home” tips you can quickly perform from your garage or driveway so your tires will be ready to go as soon as we safely can!
Tip 1: Clean and Inspect
Take a quick moment to wash any grime, sand or salt from your tires. Debris and dirt can corrode or damage rims and wheels while your car is sitting dormant. Next, visually inspect your tires for nails, screws, tears or bumps in the tread and sidewall areas. Finally, check for uneven wear on your tires that might lead to an emergency flat.
Reduced tire tread can mean poor tire handling and braking, not to mention an increased risk of a blowout. Slime recommends using a tire depth gauge, or the old tried-and-true penny test (or quarter test if you have larger tires) to ensure that you have enough rubber hitting the road. Alternatively, you could look for the wear bars between the tread lines - If they are close to the same height as your tire tread then new tires may be in your future. This quick visual inspection offers big returns when it comes to tire safety.
Tip 3: Check Air Pressure
Your tires naturally lose a minimum of 1 psi every month. Over time, this air loss results in two problems: poor tire handling and wasted fuel. Slime recommends that you check your air pressure with a tire gauge monthly and top off with air if needed. Be sure to check your tire pressure when your tires are cool (Tires are considered cold when the vehicle has been parked for three hours or more - easy nowadays!). Your vehicle’s recommended tire pressure can be found on your driver-side door jamb placard or in your owner’s manual.
Tip 4: Rotate Tires Slightly
Tires don’t like sitting around and are susceptible to a phenomenon called flat-spotting. When all the weight of your car presses down on the same spot, it causes your tires to flatten where they come into contact with the ground. Flat-spots are usually temporary (the tire rounds out during driving as it warms up), but can become permanent during long periods of inactivity. Fortunately, there is an easy fix to prevent flat spots: Simply rotate your tires very slightly. You don’t even need to turn on your car. If it is safe to do so, take your car out of park and then push it slightly to rotate your tires to a new position.
Tip 5: Park in the Shade
Tire rubber is sensitive to UV light and sidewalls are much thinner than the tread area, so try to park your vehicle in the shade or in a garage whenever possible. If long term parking outside is your only option, consider tire covers or other options to block the sun. Additionally, tire rubber does not respond well to big temperature changes, and parking in a more temperate spot (such as the garage) will extend the life of your tires.
Though they may be small, tire valve caps play an important role in tire safety. Valve caps prevent damage to your valve stem, as well as prevent dirt from entering your valve. They also protect against air loss, so be sure to replace any missing, leaking or cracked valve caps. Feeling fancy? Color coordinate your valve caps, or find valve caps that add a little bling to your tires!