Tires spin your car around and get you where you’re going. Maintaining them is crucial to your ride’s safety and functionality. Here are some tips to keeping an eye on their health.

Car tire

Pressure

Maintaining proper tire pressure is important. It can impact your car’s performance with everything from grip to steering response. You should keep an eye on the pressure, rather than waiting for the light to go off on your dashboard. You can pick up the tool to check the pressure at many gas stations and other retailers. Cars.com has posted a Step by Step instruction guide to checking the pressure yourself, explaining you can “check your car’s owner’s manual for the recommended pressure, or inside the driver’s side doorjamb where this vital information is displayed on a sticker.”

Tread

We’ve all heard that having bald tires is a bad thing, but does anyone ever say precisely what that tread does? In short, it makes our vehicles grip the road. RightTurn goes a little more in depth, explaining, “Tire tread is capable of allowing vehicles to corner tighter, accelerate smoother, and brake quickly. Tire tread is also capable of helping to maximize fuel economy.” Good thing there’s an easy DIY tire tread test, so we can check the depth of our tread before it’s obviously having a balding issue. Car and Driver suggests sticking a quarter upside down into the tread. If you can see George Washington’s head, your tire tread is worn.

Rotate

If you skip out on having your tires rotated, you’ll have to have them replaced faster. Tire rotation extends the life of your rubber. According to Consumer Reports, it’s a chore that should “typically be done every 5,000 to 8,000 miles.” They also say, “Without rotation, tires may not wear evenly.” The rotation pattern that’s best suited for your vehicle is dependent on the make and model, so either leave the rotating to a professional or make sure to consult your owner’s manual.

Man changing tire

Be Careful

Recommending that you not run over broken bottles might sound funny, but accidents happen. Any driver can get an object stuck in her tires and not realize it until the whole thing looks a little deflated. This is why it’s important to inspect your tires on occasion, especially if you heard something that didn’t sound right while you were driving. This is also important advice if you ditch the city life to go off road mudding in your Prius on the weekends.

Maintaining functional tires can go a long way to keeping your car healthy for the long haul.