It is easy to take your vehicle’s tires for granted and generally ignore them. Unfortunately, that is exactly what many car owners do.
Unless a tire goes flat or starts making unusual noises, most people do not check tire pressures or tread conditions. Ignoring your tires is a big mistake.
Allowing tires to become underinflated will make them wear out prematurely and reduce your fuel economy. Tires also become less effective when they are underinflated, overinflated, or suffering from road damage.
Tires enable your vehicle to handle well, maintain traction, and come to controlled stops. When your tires are in poor condition, you might lose control of your vehicle and cause a car accident.
Tire-Related Fatalities Occur Annually
A flat tire might not seem like much of a threat, but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says tire-related accidents claimed 612 lives on U.S. roadways in 2019. The NHTSA also says tire-related fatalities occur every year.
A tire-related fatality or personal injury happens when a tire fails suddenly and causes the driver to lose control of the vehicle. A sudden blowout in which a tire deflates virtually instantly is especially dangerous.
A blowout could cause a sudden loss of vehicular control and result in a head-on collision or a rollover accident. A rollover accident is the deadliest type of accident that could occur.
A sudden tread separation also might cause you to lose control of your vehicle and cause a rollover accident. A tread separation also might cause a large piece of a tire to become a dangerous missile if it is flung from the defective tire.
You likely have seen large sections of tires on the road or along the shoulder. Those often are the result of big rigs that have a tread separation and throw one or more large sections of tires into the traffic lane.
You might travel next to a tractor trailer and hear one of its tires making a loud thumping sound. That is the sound of a tread separation in progress.
How to Monitor and Maintain Your Tires?
Two very affordable items are important for monitoring and maintaining your tires. Those items are a tire pressure gauge and a portable air compressor.
A tire pressure gauge will enable you to quickly and accurately measure air pressures in your tires. Many current-production vehicles also have pressure-monitoring systems that tell you when one or more tires are improperly inflated.
Unfortunately, the monitoring systems can fail, and they do not monitor the condition of the tread or sidewalls. Therefore, it still pays to buy an affordable tire pressure gauge and check the tires at least once per week.
If any tires are low on air pressure, a portable air compressor can inflate them to the correct level. A small and durable portable air compressor can run with power provided by a cigarette lighter adapter or possibly a USB port.
You should inspect the sidewalls and tread for any signs of damage. A road hazard might damage one or more tires and make your vehicle unsafe if you continue to drive on damaged tires.
Balance and Rotation Service Helps to Maintain Tires
Most carmakers recommend that you balance and rotate your vehicle’s tires about every 7,500 miles of travel. For many people, that would mean about twice per year and maybe more often.
An experienced tire technician can remove all four wheels and perform a high-speed spin-balance service. That will help to ensure all four tires are rolling properly and will not cause excessive wear and tear or possibly lose traction.
The rotation service enables the technicians to inspect the tread on each tire and ensure they are safe for continued use. Rotating your tires helps to even out the wear and tear by moving the front tires to the rear and the rear tires to the front.
It is also suggested for a mechanic to perform a four-wheel alignment on the vehicle, perhaps once or twice a year or if you have been driving on especially rough roads.
It is important to have the tires with the best tread on the rear of your vehicle. The rear helps to stabilize your vehicle while you are turning, so it needs the best tread on the back wheels.
Road Damage Is a Constant Threat
One or more tires also might suffer from road damage that eventually causes them to go flat. A road hazard could initiate a tread separation that takes several days to fully occur. A road hazard also might damage the sidewall or the wheel upon which the tire is mounted.
Whether or not you suspect a road hazard has damaged a tire, you should visually inspect the tires at least once per week for unusual tread wear and damage. Even if your vehicle has a tire pressure monitoring system, such systems cannot detect road damage, unless it causes a loss of air pressure.
Potential Liability for Damaged or Defective Tires
All motorists are required to ensure their vehicles are safe for road travel. A defective tire compromises safety and could cause an accident.
If you are driving a vehicle with a defective tire, you could be liable for injuries and damage caused by an accident that was caused by the defective tire. So could any other motorist who is driving on a defective tire.
Tire manufacturers sometimes sell tires that suffer from a manufacturing defect. Although it is unintentional, the manufacturer is liable for injuries or damage caused by tire failure that results from a manufacturing defect.
Negligent tire maintenance caused by a tire service location also might trigger third-party liability for causing an accident.
When another motorist, tire manufacturer, or another third party is liable for injuries or damage caused by a defective tire, an experienced car accident lawyer can help to hold those parties accountable.
Washington DC Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King Help Clients after a Motor Vehicle Accident
Drivers must properly maintain their vehicles to ensure safety on the road. However, accidents can happen for a variety of reasons. If you were involved in a car accident, reach out to the Washington DC car accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King. Our experienced legal team will investigate the cause of your accident and fight to secure the compensation for which you are entitled. Call us today at 202-331-1963 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Washington DC, Alexandria, Virginia, and National Harbor, Maryland, we work with clients in Prince George’s County, including Laurel, Beltsville, Adelphi, College Park, Greenbelt, Mitchellville, Woodmore, Greater Upper Marlboro, Springdale, Largo, Bowie, Capitol Heights, District Heights, Forestville, Suitland, Seat Pleasant, Clinton, Oxon Hill, Temple Hills, and Fort Washington.