Del albright: about tires and safety

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A Few Simple Tips and Some Safety Reminders

Recently I had the opportunity to see how tires are made, and to learn the significance of the right tire, taken care of properly. Some of this I knew; some I didn't. But I can tell you this; there is little more important, save brakes, than your tires on your rig.


Depending on what kind of off-roading you do, an aggressive lug tire like the BFGoodrich Mud Terrain will take you anywhere you need to go, at a fair price, with reasonable road life. But did you know that on the road, if you leave your tires at low air pressure, you can experience 1/2 (yea, 50%) loss of the traction in wet conditions -- with any tire! And that is if you reduce your pressure by merely 15 psi (from 35 to 20).

Brand and tread are meaningless in this statistic -- you will lose half your foot print at 60 MPH going driving on wet pavement if you drive your tires at a reduced air pressure as mentioned above.


Off-roading and rock crawling are when we like to use low air pressure -- for sure. And that's the right way to do it; but I'm suggesting that when you get back to pavement, and you face possible wet driving conditions, to air back up!

Oh, and did you know that low pressure tires in dry condition cause more heat build-up in your rubber compound -- and could lead to tire issues.???

I think that is why most all tire manufacturers recommend a certain tire pressure for road driving, and want to you be diligent in checking your tire pressure.

This brings up the next tip -- ROTATE your tires, and yes, even your off-road rig tires. Rotating tires extends tire life, ensures a better footprint all around, and forces you to check your tires more often!

Keep them properly aired up and check them frequently.

One last tip: remember the old days when we used to buy two tires at a time, rather than 4, to spread out the cost? Well, if you do that today, or if you run mis-matched tread wear tires, PUT THE GOOD TIRES IN THE REAR!

Yes, the rear tires, even with front-wheel drive rigs, is where you need the stability of good tires -- your best tread goes in the back. Your chances of spinning out of control in wet conditions is hugely reduced with your good tires in the rear. They will stabilize you as you push through a puddle or wet surface, even if your front tires want to lose traction.

So the bottom line; make sure you are in the habit of checking and rotating your tires. Keep the proper air pressure for the conditions; and don't be lazy about safety.


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