Tire Talk from a NASCAR Professional

NASCAR tire changers know the importance of tightening lugs nuts.

Some learn their lesson the hard way. Two years ago before the Daytona 500 when Tony Stewart radioed the pits complaining of a loose wheel after what he thought would be a routine tire change.

“Yeah, I got a lecture,” said the tire changer, who forgot to tighten a lug nut creating a vibration in Tony’s car. “If this happens to a motorist, it could cause an accident, so be aware.”

Seemingly, that’s an obvious task when caring of your tires, but what else can we learn from a professional who knows the ins and outs of tires and how they wear on the road?

“I always check my tires with the old penny trick,” he said. “Put a penny in the tread upside down and facing you, if you can see all of Lincoln’s head, then you need new tires.”

Here are more tips from the NASCAR pros and the folks at Goodyear:

  • Check your tire inflation. Check your tires' air pressure at least once a month with an accurate tire pressure gauge and do it while your tires are cold and have not been used recently. Even driving a mile will cause your tire pressure to increase and give you an inaccurate reading.
  • Check your tire tread at least every 3,000 miles.
  • Know what certain wear patterns mean. Some can indicate a problem with your vehicle or under and over inflation.
  • Keep your vehicle properly aligned to avoid uneven wear on your tires.
  • Rotate your tires every 6,000 to 8,000 miles.
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