For most people their car is like their second home. We spend a lot of time in our cars; working on them, cleaning them, and making sure the engines run properly. But, for some reason, when it comes to a car’s tires people don’t seem to pay attention. Checking your tires regularly is one of the most important car maintenance and safety checks that everyone should do often.

There are many reasons why you should check your tires often. Here are a few of the most important reasons to check your tire inflation and keep up tire maintenance:

• Keeping tires inflated to their proper PSI (pounds per square inch) level is key. Check your owner’s manual for the proper PSI, and keep your tires correctly filled. A correct PSI keeps your tires round, giving them a high efficiency for starting, stopping, and maintaining a speed.

• Tires that are properly inflated to their correct PSI will preform at their highest level and evenly wear down. Under-inflated tires will not respond quickly to braking, and are more likely to skid.

• Most drivers operate cars with tires that are only 80% inflated. Keeping your tires at the correct PSI level will increase your gas mileage by 3%. For most vehicles, a 3% gas mileage increase translates to an extra mile per gallon, which gives you an extra 20 miles per tank of gas.  If you drive 12,000 miles per year, properly inflated tires will give you an extra 144 gallons of gas a year.

• Gas mileage efficiency decreases by 0.4% for every PSI your vehicle’s tires are under from the manufacture’s recommendation. With gas prices at an all time high, keeping your tires inflated to the correct PSI level will save you money on gas.

• Under-inflated tires take more energy (i.e. gas) to rotate. Under-inflated tires add 20 pounds of carbon dioxide to the environment for every extra gallon of gas needed to propel your under-inflated tires forward. Over the course of a year, under-inflated tires could be adding up to 3,000 pounds of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.

The benefits of keeping your tires properly inflated are clear. Here are a few pointers about checking your tires:

• Remember to always check your tire pressure when the tires have not been driven on, or are “cold.” A tire’s internal pressure builds as it moves on the road; therefore a correct reading can only be taken at a time when the tire has not had any internal pressure build up within it. Before driving, check your tire pressure to ensure a correct reading.

• Keep track of how often you check your tires, and aim for a once a month tire check. Once you have a monthly routine, it will be easier to remember to check your tires. To find the correct PSI for your tires, check the tire itself. The PSI is usually written on the sidewall of the tire.

Another important safety feature to check on your car’s tires is the tread wear. Every year, around 400 people die from tire related accidents. Many of the accidents are a result of a tire burst from a worn out tire. Punctures, blowouts, and potholes can all cause a worn out tire to blow. Avoid tire failure, and check the tread of your car’s tires.

The best way to make sure your tire tread is at the correct level is to use the “penny test.” While looking at your tire’s tread level, take an upside down penny and place it into the tire tread. Look at the penny, if your tire is properly inflated you will be able to see the lower half of Lincoln’s head (under his hairline). If you see the top of Lincoln’s head or anything above it, your tires are getting dangerously low – and it is time to buy a new tire! Use this simple test to ensure you are riding on safe tires.

Accidents do happen, even when you have taken the proper precautions. If you have, or are involved in, a car accident due to tire malfunction, blowout, or improper inflation, contact a qualified Philadelphia car accident attorney to discuss your options. Tire related car accidents can be complex, and often there is confusion as to which driver is responsible. Working with a Philadelphia car accident lawyer is the best way to proceed if you are involved in a car accident due to tire malfunction.

Protect yourself and your loved ones. Keep your vehicle’s tires properly inflated, and check the tire tread regularly. If you are ever in need of a professional auto accident lawyer, call a Philadelphia car accident lawyer to discuss your options.