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The Department of Transportation today issued tire safety tips to consumers for the summertime vacation season. Tire care is especially critical in warm weather because long trips, heavy loads, higher speeds and higher temperatures all put additional stress on tires.

  • Check your tires regularly to be sure there are no visible signs of wear, damage, bulges, or tread separation.
  • Be sure your tires are properly inflated. Check your tire pressure often--with an accurate gauge-- for routine driving and before and during any long trips. Measure the tire when the tires are cold, before you drive on them. The recommended inflation pressure can be found in your owner's manual or on a label frequently found in the glove box, near the door latch on the driver's side, or other locations on your vehicle. The recommended inflation pressure is not to be confused with the maximum inflation pressure that is shown on the side of the tire. At the recommended inflation pressure, tires will last longer and be less likely to fail, and the car will use less fuel. Serious injury can result from tire failure because of under inflation or overloading.
  • Never overload your vehicle. Your car and tires are designed to operate safely only up to their load limits. These limits are shown in your owner's manual and on the certification plate on the edge of the driver's door.
  • Make sure there is enough tread on the tire to operate safely and the tires are wearing normally. All grooves should be visible and deep enough to at least touch the top of Lincoln's head on a penny inserted head first in the tread. Low tread or bald tires are unsafe and need to be replaced.
  • If some spots on the tire seem to be wearing faster than others, see your service station or mechanic. You could have misaligned wheels, worn shock absorbers, or other potential problems. Make sure your tires are aligned and balanced properly.
  • Don't drive at a high rate of speed for a long time, particularly in hot weather. Obey posted speed limits. Lower speeds also mean better gas mileage.
  • Make sure that every person in every vehicle is properly restrained in a seat belt or child safety seat on every trip--before you turn the key in the ignition.