Save money by taking care of your tires

Side view of black car

Because tire prices are sharply rising, it makes sense to take better care of the ones on your car.

With today's tires engineered to last for 40,000 miles or more, shopping for tires isn't an everyday event for most of us.

Sure, $200 seems like a lot to pay for a tire, but most of us aren't going to remember that same tire cost just $150 in 2005.

A recent story in automotive industry trade publication Automotive News said that tire makers have raised prices numerous times in the past few years in response to tire shortages.

Generally, those percentage increases were in the double digits just in 2010 alone.

If simply taking better care of your tires can add a few thousand miles to their life, the extra effort is worth it.

AutoMD.com, an online source for estimating auto repair costs and advice for do-it-yourselfers, says a tire's lifespan is affected by the quality of the tires, tire maintenance, type of vehicle and driving habits.

It recently released several tips that can help increase the life of your tires.

A couple of these tips are common sense, such as avoiding road hazards like potholes. Thank you, Mr. Obvious.

Others, though, are sound advice.

For example, AutoMD recommends keeping your tires properly inflated. If you don't have one, buy a tire pressure gauge and check the pressure weekly. Maintain the tire pressure recommended in the owner's manual.

Over- or under-inflated tires not only hasten tire wear, but affect handling and traction.

Rotate and balance your tires at least every 10,000 miles. Front tires and rear tires wear at different rates; rotating them regularly evens the wear. Some tire stores include periodic rotations in the price of a set of tires.

Regularly clean your tires and cover them with Armor All or a similar product that protects against UV damage in the summer and harsh weather conditions in the winter.

According to Automotive News, demand from U.S. and Canadian car plants alone for new tires will jump from 55 million tires in 2010 to 79 million tires by 2016, so manufacturing isn't going to catch up with demand any time soon.

Saving your tires will save you money.

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