loading_the_carSummer time is family vacation road trip time, and road trip time means it’s also car maintenance time. These tips for saving money and staying safe on the road this summer come from the tire experts at Tire Rack, America’s largest independent tire tester and consumer-direct source for tires, performance parts and accessories:

Saving Money with Your Tires

Pressure: Tires don’t carry the weight of your vehicle, the air pressure inside them does. Underinflated tires offer less traction, reduce fuel mileage, wear out prematurely and can suffer unnoticeable damage that compromises their performance and safety. One out of four vehicles on the road is running on underinflated tires. Check tire pressure often, don’t just “set it and forget it.”

Eco-Friendly Tires: Consider purchasing low-rolling resistance tires, which reduce gas consumption by as much as 7 percent by minimizing wasted energy as your car is in motion. Here’s a 4-minute video that asks whether low-rolling resistance tires are right for you.

Staying Safe on the Road

Construction Hazards: More than 25 percent of deaths on U.S. roads involve hitting a hazard along the roadside, not another vehicle, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Slow down and be extra aware in construction areas, around maintenance crews and whenever you come upon an emergency vehicle or any other vehicle on the side of the road.

Avoid Potholes: Driving through just one large pothole can weaken a tire, reducing its long-term durability and ride quality. Potholes can also knock a vehicle out of alignment, reducing handling and tire life. Drive around large puddles – they can hide deep, rain-filled potholes.

Drive Through a Blowout: Instead of slamming on the brakes if a tire blows out, maintain pressure on the accelerator for an instant to preserve your car’s momentum and offset the pulling. Don’t hit the brakes. Once the car is stable, slowly pull to the side of the road.

roadribbonThings You Need to Know about Tires

Don’t Mix and Match: All tires are not created equal. Mixing tires of different brands, tread depths and performance categories can cause a serious loss in vehicle stability.

Consider Summer Tires: Unlike all-season tires, summer tires are designed specifically for warm and wet weather. Here’s a list of summer tires that deliver driving excellence in both dry and wet weather.

Lincoln vs. Washington: Unexpected downpours are frequent in warm weather, and insufficient tread-depth can double stopping distance. Tire Rack has shown tires worn down to the standards of the ‘Lincoln Penny Test’ can put you at risk on wet roads. Tire Rack recommends drivers consider replacing tires when they reach approximately 4/32″ of remaining tread depth. This video explains tread depth and the coin test.

Tire Rack is a family-owned company headquartered in South Bend, Indiana. Its 90-plus sales team tests tires from every major tire manufacturer on the company’s state-of-the-art, 10-acre test facility. The findings are then posted on the company’s website, where consumers can make an educated decision on a tire, wheel or performance accessory purchase. Tire Rack has also collected results from more than 157,300 consumer surveys representing over 2.7 billion miles of real-world tire data, the largest known cache of such information anywhere.

How One Mom Kept Her Kids from Fighting on the Family Vacation Road Trip

Tirerack doesn’t sell the secret, but this mom came up with a great idea to keep her kids from fighting throughout the family vacation road trip.