Rytonia Johnson didn’t know what hit her tire.
“My tire just gave out on me,” said Johnson, 18, a freshman business administration student from Madison.
Johnson’s tire blow out could have been caused by under or over-inflation, which are the main factors that cause tire complications, said Steve Wright, sales manager of Total Tire Car Care of Tallahassee.
“Tires should be checked on a weekly basis. Under-inflation causes the outer shoulder of the tire to wear and over-inflation causes the mid-tread to wear,” Wright said.
“The steering and handling ability of the car will go down and ultimately the tire can blow out.”
Wear and tear on tires can also be caused by failure to rotate them on time.
Wright said that tires should be rotated every 5,000 to 7,000 miles. “This controls tread wear, and the tires will last longer,” Wright said.
Aware of the recalls that were made a couple years ago, Wright highly recommends Bridgestone/Firestone tires, because the high technology used to manufacture them is uncommon in other tires.
“Bridgestone/Firestone has had some trouble with recalls, but they have improved. Bridgestone has a lot of technology. It actually refreshed itself,” Wright said.
“Usually tires have only one tread and after the tread wears the tire is useless, but Bridgestone had a unique system in creating their tires. Bridgestone has a secondary tread compound. The tires are optimized by computer.”
Along with the under-and over-inflation of tires, running over objects and overriding a doughnut tire (the spare tire usually kept in the trunk of the car) can also cause tire failures.
“You shouldn’t ride on a spare tire for more than 100 miles. A spare is not a regular tire and is not designed for prolonged usage and because the tire is small, it’s not good for suspension,” Wright said.
There are Web sites that specialize in the tire care and safety: www.tirebusiness.com, and www.rma.org/tiresafety.html.
INFO BOX: provided by www.rma.org (Rubber Manufactures Association)
When you check the air pressure, make sure the tires are cool-meaning they are not hot from driving even a mile.
Remove the cap from the valve on the tire.
Firmly press a tire gauge onto the valve
Add air to achieve recommended air pressure
If you overfill the tire, release air by pushing on the metal stem in the center of the valve with a fingernail or the tip of a pen. Then recheck the pressure with your tire gauge.
Replace the valve cap.
Repeat with each tire, including the spare. Some spare tires require higher inflation pressure.
Visually inspect the tires to make there are no nails or other objects embedded that could poke a hole in the tire and cause an air leak.
Check the sidewalls to make sure there are no gouges or cuts.