Frequently some of the most overlooked parts of a car are its tires. And to give us some pointers on tire maintenance we have our tire expert Matt Edmonds. Matt, welcome back to Goss’ Garage.

MATT EDMONDS: Pleasure to be here Pat.

PAT GOSS: Alright, what do you got for us?

MATT EDMONDS: Well, I’ll tell you when it comes to taking care of your tires and getting the most out of them, the tire pressure, measuring the pressure inside that tire the air chamber is really one of the most important things. Now have a good tire gauge, make sure you check that tire pressure once a month. That pressure is what really carries the load of the vehicle but also gives the tire the ability to have its right shape to perform. 

PAT GOSS: O.K. I tell my customers that. And the first thing I hear is, oh I don’t need to check my tire pressure I’ve got TPMS and the light will come on.

MATT EDMONDS: And that light will come on if one of your tires goes down, but if you have an indirect system which really is just using wheel sensors, all four of your tires will go down at the same rate 1-2 pounds a month and you’ll never get a warning. When that pressures does go down damage can happen.   

PAT GOSS: O.K., so TPMS is just for extreme situations.

MATT EDMONDS: It is, absolutely.

PAT GOSS: O.K., what else you got?

MATT EDMONDS: Well, when that pressure goes down as we talked about with a TPMS system you may get to a point where you’re low enough damage has happened. This is not the way you want to look at the sidewalls of your tires. This has been damaged. The tire has come apart. And when we see tires like this obviously that’s catastrophic. Unfortunately, you can run a tire low, not see any damage on the outside of the tire and inside you’ve got this. And that crumb rubber, and what we see here in this jar came out of one tire that had been run low, looked perfectly fine on the outside someone re-inflated that tire, drove on it and ended up with this.  

PAT GOSS: O.K. so if it’s run low, check the inside of the tire.

MATT EDMONDS: Absolutely.

PAT GOSS: Alright, next thing.

MATT EDMONDS: Well there’s lots of numbers and data on the sidewall of that tire. The date and age of the tire that we see as a DOT number, the last four digits give you the week and the year that tire was manufactured. Very important if you have a vehicle that’s older, maybe you purchased an older vehicle the tires look like they have lots of life in them still, check those tires because if it’s been a weekend driver it hasn’t had a lot of miles put on it those tires could be 6 to 10 years old and really worth considering changing those tires. 

PAT GOSS: Alright, now you’re talking about tire pressure, we have a pressure reading on the side of the tire.   

MATT EDMONDS: We do, and that’s something many people misconstrue as the proper pressure they should be setting those tires at. That pressure is the max pressure this tire can operate under, and that really is a load issue. You want to check the placard on the door sill of your car or your owner’s manual for really the proper pressure for your vehicle. Because if you run at this max pressure it won’t necessarily hurt the tire, but you’ll have a very harsh ride. 

PAT GOSS: O.K., Matt thank you

MATT EDMONDS: Pleasure. 

PAT GOSS: And if you have a question or a comment drop me a line right here at MotorWeek.