BY LEAH INGRAM
WHAT’S THE best way to avoid getting a
flat tire? It all starts with your tire inflation pressure, says Keith Willcome, a
Bridgestone project engineer in Nashville,
Tennessee. “Lo w inflation pressure makes
the tire more susceptible to road hazards,”
and therefore flat tires, he says.
Since ;;;;, Willcome notes, auto man-
ufacturers have included tire-pressure
monitoring systems in cars, specifically for
tire inflation. You may have seen the warn-
ing indicator light up on your dashboard on
cold mornings and then disappear after
you begin driving. Don’t ignore this light,
he says; instead, be proactive about check-
ing your tire inflation pressure with a gauge
on a regular basis.
“If your engine runs low on oil, you can
cause engine damage,” he explains. “With
inadequate pressure, you can cause damage to the tires.” And low pressure is one of
the most common causes of flat tires.
For example, one bad parallel parking
job with your tires rubbing against the
curb, and your low-pressure tires could get
cracks or tears in the rubber. Before you
know it? Flat tire.
A broken valve stem on the tire, a
dented hubcap or wheel damage from rust
can also affect how a tire holds air pressure. And you know what that means: a
Finally, not rotating or replacing your
tires frequently enough can lead to flat
tires as well. Want to see if it’s time to
change your tires? That penny trick your
driver’s-ed teacher likely taught you is still
legit. Insert a penny top first into your tire
tread. If you can’t see the top of Abe
Lincoln’s head, you’ve still got some tire
life left. However, if Abe’s head sticks out,
you need new tires.
Willcome suggests doing a walk around
your car every morning before driving to
inspect your tires. And if that tire pressure
light comes on, don’t ignore it. Get thee to
a gas station’s air compressor right away to
fill up, or you risk getting a flat tire in the
very near future. C
Costco member and author Leah Ingram
covers a variety of lifestyle topics.
Common causes of flat tires
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