For vehicle owners, it is important to remember the tires are one of the most critical components of your vehicle. It is common knowledge that keeping tires balanced and rotated improves the longevity of your tires. However, it is also important to understand how tire maintenance affects hybrid performance. From breaking to driving control and even gas mileage efficiency, proper tire maintenance is essential to keeping your hybrid vehicle in great working order.
Consider the following as a checklist for routine tire maintenance on your hybrid vehicle.
Balancing and Alignment
Based on several factors, certain parts of your tires wear differently. From braking too quickly or too hard, to taking sharp turns and even driving at excessive speeds, your tires begin to wear unevenly. The most effective way to ensure your tires wear evenly is to have them balanced and aligned regularly.
It is recommended to have your tires balanced and aligned every 3,000-6,000 miles, or whenever you experience changes in steering and driving. Due to the vast differences in driving habits, it’s also recommended to listen to your car and not just the mileage.
Other signs it’s time to have your tires balanced and aligned are: vibrating in the floorboard or steering wheel, vehicle pulling to the left or right, and squealing tires.
Another important piece to the puzzle is having your brake pads inspected any time you have your tires balanced. Worn brake pads cause inefficiency in braking, which also affects your tires.
Always have your tire maintenance done at a reputable repair shop by a trained and licensed technician to avoid any costly errors. Preventive measures will save you money in the long run.
Another easy and overlooked detail is maintaining proper air pressure for your vehicle’s tires. Unless your tires are flat, most vehicle owners tend to overlook the importance of maintaining proper air pressure. If your tires are not properly inflated, your vehicle’s engine and other components have to work harder.
Additionally, gas mileage and the quality of your drive is adversely affected by improper tire pressure. Tires that are over-inflated can cause the vehicle to bounce around due to less of the tire touching the ground as you drive. Alternatively, under-inflated tires touch too much of the ground and lead to overheating or uneven tread wear.
For your respective hybrid vehicle, check the PSI recommended by the carmaker. This information can be found on the inside of your driver’s side door jam or on the tire itself. Check your tire pressure once per month prior to driving with a pressure gauge.
*Pro Tip: According to the United States Department of Energy, properly inflated tires can return an additional 3.3 percent to your vehicle’s current fuel economy rating.
Check Tread Depth
Preventative measures are just as important as routine maintenance. One of the easiest preventative steps you can take is the “penny test” to check tread depth. To perform the test, simply place a penny upside down into a tread groove. If you’re able to see Lincoln’s head, it is time to shop for new tires.
For more information on best practices for checking tread depth, or when it may be time to get new tires, Tire Buyer offers a guide (with images) on how to utilize the penny test and other important tips to protect your tires. In any event, driving with bald tires is hazardous and overall affects hybrid performance.
Something many drivers don’t consider is how driving habits can affect your tires. Excessive speed causes heat build-up and road hazards increase the chance of tire damage, leading to early replacement. Higher speeds also contribute to rapid air loss, so be sure to follow posted speed limits while driving.
Keeping your trunk and vehicle empty of excess items is also important. Be sure to check your vehicle’s maximum weight limit, as extra weight reduces fuel economy as well as the hybrid battery life. Excess weight also shortens your vehicle’s tire life so be sure to keep the trunk and cab free of extra items.
If your daily commute is riddled with potholes, be sure to avoid hitting them if possible. Hitting curbs, potholes, or other debris regularly leads to misalignment.
Routine tire maintenance applies to all vehicles, hybrid or combustion engine. [Routine tire maintenance affects hybrid performance just as it does in traditional combustion engines.] Following the above steps can help you save money and remain safe on the road. Be sure to always have your tire maintenance such as balance and alignment done by a reputable and experience tire shop.
The Hybrid Geek offers comprehensive service for all your hybrid vehicle’s needs. If you have concerns about the state of your hybrid vehicle, contact us for an appointment today. With easy scheduling options and affordable pricing, The Hybrid Geek is the best option in Raleigh-Durham.