The company offered these tire maintenance and safe driving tips to help drivers prepare for shifting temperatures and rainy conditions during springtime travels, noting that checking tread and monitoring tire pressure before road trips takes less than 10 minutes:
• As a general rule, the deeper the tread depth, the better. Tire tread depth should be more than 2/32 of an inch deep all around the tire. Drivers can check tread depth by inserting the edge of a U.S. penny in between the tread, with Lincoln going in headfirst. If the top of Lincoln's head is covered by tread, there is at least a minimum acceptable amount of tread. If the top of his head is visible at any location on the tire, it is time to replace the tire.
• While examining the tread, also look for signs of uneven wear or damage, including cuts, cracks, splits, punctures and bulges. These conditions shorten the life of tires and could cause further tire damage if left unnoticed.
• Drivers should follow the guidelines found in the vehicle owner's manual or tire placard (or sticker) attached to the vehicle door edge to determine the correct air pressure for their vehicle's tires. It is a common misconception that the tire pressure listed on the sidewall is the optimal pressure — in reality, it is the maximum pressure, Cooper said.
• Air pressure should be checked when the tires are completely cool.
• If any of these checks signal a need for tire maintenance, or if drivers are doubtful about the condition of tires, vehicles should be brought to a tire dealer for a professional inspection.
• Warmer spring weather puts stress on all vehicle components, including tire pressure and can affect the rate at which a tire loses air. Tires can lose more than two pounds of air pressure per month in the summer heat, so tire pressure should be checked regularly.
• Make sure engine oil, transmission fluid, power-steering fluid and brake fluid are all at recommended levels.
• Examine the vehicle's cooling system to avoid overheating.
• When the engine is still cool, check the level of coolant in the radiator by looking for the plastic overflow tank under the hood. Add fluid before driving if levels are low.
• Check for any loose connections that may need tightening and radiator hoses that feel “spongy,” as they will need replacing.
When packing up for a road trip, Cooper suggested these vehicle loading and overloading tips:
• Before packing the trunk and the roof, check out the vehicle manufacturer's recommendations for loading the vehicle, which can be found on the vehicle information placard located on the vehicle door edge or in the vehicle owners' manual. Be aware that passengers count towards the total recommended vehicle weight.
• Overloading the vehicle creates excessive heat inside tires, which increases tread wear and stress.
• Tires and wheels that are off-balance or misaligned can cause uneven wear and other problems, especially on long road trips in a fully packed vehicle. Have a mechanic inspect vehicle alignment to avoid these issues.
Cooper offers more information on proper tire safety and maintenance on its website.