This post was written in partnership with OK Tire.
Truth. Up until I acquired my ‘Mum Mobile’ (aka. my van), I didn’t handle my vehicle maintenance. This was done by Rob and before that, my parents. I really didn't know the first thing about routine check-ups, oil changes and most definitely not tire safety. While admittedly embarrassing, I’ve come along way. I now fully take care of all maintenance for the van and actually feel safer on the road because of it. In my experience, tire care is one of the most important aspects to keeping your vehicle in top running order and it’s also one that seemingly a lot of people underestimate.
Tire safety is important year round. As we know, life is hectic and routine tire maintenance can easily be overlooked. However, keeping your tires in good condition requires far less time and is not nearly as complicated as many (my old self included) would assume. Knowing what to look out for and staying on top of your tire servicing will ensure you’re safe on the road and enjoying the ride. I use OK Tire for my van’s routine tire care and truly trust their expert opinion and service.
In addition to having regular service performed at OK Tire, something else I find helpful is to keep track of all maintenance in my planner and on my phone’s calendar. My memory is good but short and this allows me to stay up to date on service and, as needed, also set reminders. To keep things even easier, you can always set up your next appointment ahead of time. Pro tip, for convenience, OK Tire offers online appointment scheduling at over 300 locations across Canada. You can find your nearest location here.
I reached out to OK Tire to learn some key tips to keep my tires in good running order and below is what I learned (and you’ll want to learn, too).
CHECK YOUR TIRE PRESSURE
Moment of truth, when is the last time your tire pressure was checked? Knowing if your tires have the correct amount of pressure is not an easy thing to determine based on how your vehicle is driving. Improper pressure, both over and under inflated can equally spell trouble. One result of improper tire pressure is premature wear and tire, meaning your tires will become worn out faster than they should. An overinflated tire can also cause a rough drive, as there is no give to handle bumps in the road.
Tip - It’s good practice to check that your tires are properly inflated once a month (more than you probably thought, huh?). Each vehicle has different recommended tire pressure which you can determine on the driver’s side door jamb or in your owners manual.
To get the most use out of your tires, routinely rotate them to ensure wear and tear is equally distributed. If your tires don’t wear down evenly, they will not safely perform as they should. This is because worn down tread cannot adhere to the road properly. As a general rule, you should rotate your tires every six months, or every 10,000 to 12,000 km.
USE PROPER TIRES
This is a big one. Many people wrongly assume they can get by with their summer tires year-round, but the truth is rubber simply can’t hold up against our cold Canadian winters. Wondering when you should switch over to winter tires? Ideally, you should be changing your tires over when the temperature is consistently below 7 degrees Celsius for one week straight. As an alternative, all-weather tires (granted they have a three-peak rating) are a definite option.
Tip: Need help financing? OK Tire offers a financing program to help you get the tires and wheels you need when you need them.
CHECK YOUR TREAD
As tires wear down they lose their tread, these are the grooves that help the tire adhere to the road. An OK Tire certified technician can check the tread for you, but you can easily perform this test yourself! Using a Canadian quarter, insert it into one of the grooves with the moose facing down. If you can see the tip of its nose, the tread depth likely won’t last the winter and is a sign you need new tires.
Tip: Check tread depth regularly to ensure your tires are performing at their best.
TAKE CARE OF WINTER MAINTENANCE
In addition to staying on top of your tire maintenance, it’s also important to have a winter maintenance check-up. This is especially important to do prior to any winter driving. Consider checking things like fluid levels, suspension and ride control, as well as getting a general tune-up to stay ahead of winter driving problems. When your vehicle is serviced at any OK Tire store across Canada, they’ve got you covered with their 12 months/20,000 km North American Warranty Program, this applies even in the States! In the unlikely event that something unexpected occurs, just call the helpline and they will direct you to the closest authorized repair facility anywhere in North America.