Home improvement tips for your car that can save you money

(BPT) – Do you tend to put off some tasks, especially mundane ones like those pesky home improvement chores? While procrastination is not uncommon, staying on top of the chores not only can help keep you organized, it can save you money.

Take cleaning your garage, for example. With the winter season rapidly approaching, now is a good time to take stock on just how cluttered it is. More than likely you’ll see there’s too much stuff around, and possibly not even enough space for one of the most important items in your garage: your car.

Start cleaning now because you really don’t want to keep your car or truck outside during the rainy/snowy season. In short, winter can wreak havoc on your vehicle, including the tires. ‘The colder climate definitely can alter your tire pressure,’ says Pat Keating, senior manager, technical engineering for Yokohama Tire Corporation, manufacturer of everything from ultra-high performance tires to passenger car and SUV tires, including the GEOLANDAR G015 that’s built for any weather condition, including snow.

‘Maintaining your tire pressure is extremely important because tires affect everything from braking to steering to fuel efficiency,’ Keating says. ‘As the season turns to winter, tires can lose up to 10 percent of their pressure. A tire that is under-inflated by only 8 psi can reduce fuel economy up to 2 percent, which will affect your drive and can cost you money at the gas pump.’

Five minutes a month to check your tire’s air pressure is all it takes to maintain proper inflation and save money, according to Keating.

And who couldn’t use extra money these holidays? The cash can come handy when everyone’s driving more and spending more.

‘The Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) recommends checking the tires when they are cold – at least four hours since the vehicle was last driven.’ Keating added. ‘Always use an accurate tire gauge and make sure the valve is free of debris and water.’

The correct tire pressure is specified by the manufacturer of the vehicle, not the tire manufacturer. The proper inflation levels can be found on a placard on the inside of the car door and/or in the owner’s manual.

Placing your tires on your ‘home improvement check list’ can save you cash in the long run. Keating offers some other tire tips that will help you this winter season:

* Check your tread depth by placing a penny upside down into a tread groove. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head, your tire’s tread has worn down to the legal limit and you need to buy new tires.

* Tires must be replaced when the tread is worn down to 2/32 of an inch (the lowest legal limit). It’s best to replace them before they reach 2/32 depending on your drive (geographically and type of streets).

* Rotating your tires regularly promotes even wearing of tread. Tires should be rotated every 5,000 to 8,000 miles.

* Checking your alignment at least once a year or sooner, especially if the vehicle is pulling to one side. This will help avoid uneven wear on tire tread. Tire balance should also be monitored.

For more tire care and safety tips visit www.yokohamatire.com/tires-101 or www.rma.org.

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