You may have seen this photo circulating via email and the Internet (I just saw it posted on Facebook). A little research suggests that it may not be an accurate story. It allegedly happened to a field service employee from a company called “Pike,” but their vans aren’t white nor do they openly admit this ever happened. However, it’s a wonderful reminder to always do a “circle of safety” inspection – in other words, walk around your car before you get in and drive.
Here’s a true story for you: a few weeks ago my 6 year old came to work with me. While waiting for the train, she said, “Oh, Mommy I forgot to tell Daddy that the tire is flat on Eddie (which is what we call our Eddie Bauer edition Ford Explorer). I was stunned. This is not normally a super observant child, she’s always so busy playing and having fun. Plus, what kid checks out tires for proper air pressure as they ride scooter nearby? Sure enough, my husband checked and found that the tire needed air. Luckily, thanks to my little mechanic, he could put air in the tire and not be late for a very important appointment. Low tire air pressure results in worse gas mileage, and less ability to handle your vehicle should you need to stop quickly or swerve to avoid something. And, that’s not to mention a tire blow-out which can result in an accident.
When a tire is underinflated, most of the car’s weight is concentrated on the tread that’s located just under the sidewalls, rather than being spread out evenly across the full width of the tire. This means that as the tire rolls, the sidewall gets continually flexed (squished, if you will) and heats up. This affects both performance and safety. In addition to degrading the handling of the vehicle (via the mushy steering response courtesy of the flexing sidewalls), a tire that’s considerably low on air can blow out due to the stress from the heat buildup and the constant flexing of the sidewall. [Source: Edmunds.com]
So, heed my advice please! It will keep you and others safer!
- Perform a “Circle of Safety” inspection before getting in your car, each time. This will keep kids and pets (and outside toys!) safer!! Look for objects or people who might need to move out of harm’s way, and take a quick visual inspection of your tires’ air pressure while you’re at it.
Did you know? You can check your tire’s tread with a penny. If you’re worried that you may need new tires, try the penny test! Take a penny with Lincoln facing you and turn it upside down. Place it – top of his head down – in the center of the tread (at the thickest part of the tire). If you can see Lincoln’s whole head or anything above it, your tires need replacing. If you can see part of his hair on the top of his head, you need to replace your tires soon. If you can’t see his hair (on top of his head) your tires do not need replacing yet. But it’s always a good idea to have them professionally inspected, especially if you think they’re wearing out.