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Save gas, extend tires' wear with these tips

June 3, 2010 |  2:30 pm
As people get ready for their long summer vacation car trips, Michelin, the big tire company, is offering some ways to save gas and get more wear out of the rubber on your vehicle.
  • Check tire inflation: Having the right amount of air is essential for both performance and tire life. Under-inflated tires wear unevenly. Michelin says that keeping tire pressure at the recommended level increases fuel efficiency by one mile per gallon. Check every tire once a month and before a long trip. Ideally, use a pressure gauge. Michelin says that if a tire "actually looks underinflated, it is way under-inflated." Use the tire pressure level listed for your vehicle -- usually in the owner's manual or on a sticker in the door jamb -- as a guide.
  • Rotate tires regularly: This extends the life of tires. For rotation, each tire and wheel is removed from your vehicle and moved to a different position. Tires should be rotated every 6,000 to 8,000 miles. If you have a full-size spare, include it in the rotation.
  • Keep wheels aligned: Proper alignment helps ensure that your vehicle handles correctly and will help increase the life and performance of your tires.
  • Watch tire-tread depth: Michelin says that in most states, the minimum legal tread depth is 2/32 of an inch. "Place a penny with the top of Abraham Lincoln’s head facing down into your tires' shallowest groove," the tire company suggests. If "you can see the top of Abraham Lincoln's head, it's time to replace your tires."

-- Jerry Hirsch