DIAMOND BAR, Calif. — An estimated 25 million Americans will take road trips and family vacations this summer.
Since June is National Tire Safety Month, Nexen Tire America Inc. has compiled several tips to help drivers ensure their tires are road-trip ready.
According to Nexen, consumers should consider four items before a summer road trip:
• Tire pressure
Properly-inflated tires are key to safety and longevity, the company said. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends drivers check the air pressure in their tires at least once per month when the tires are "cold" (i.e. haven't been driven for at least three hours).
Tires should be inflated to the vehicle's recommended cold tire pressure, which is found in the owner's manual and on a label inside the driver's door jamb. It is also important to check the air pressure and condition of the spare tire.
• Visual inspection
Drivers should check for visual defects and check the amount of tread left on their tires.
Drivers can use the penny trick by placing a penny in the tread with Abraham Lincoln's head upside and facing you. If you can see the top of Lincoln's head, it is time to replace the tire.
• Balance, alignment and rotation
Drivers can maximize tread life and fuel efficiency by rotating their tires every 5,000 to 8,000 miles — or sooner, if the tires are showing signs of uneven wear.
Drivers should also have their tires balanced and the vehicle's alignment checked by a qualified technician.
• Tire age
As tires age, rubber construction and other important safety features decrease, Nexen said. Most vehicles are driven often enough to replace their tires on a regular basis. However vehicles like RVs, passenger vans, collector cars and trailers could be at risk.
Infrequent use, constant exposure to sunlight and poor storage can age tires prematurely. Drivers should inspect tires for cracking and dry rot, and tires should be replaced within five years of their manufacture date.
Nexen recently opened its third distribution center in the U.S. The tire maker said it can service customers throughout the Midwest, Great Lakes and the Northeastern states with its new facility in in Lockbourne, Ohio, just south of Columbus in central Ohio.