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I Hit A Road Alligator

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It finally happened to me. Really.

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I was driving to the Philadelphia International Airport on I-95 a few weeks ago when I noticed a junky old pick up with a junky old trailer in front of me, and I could see the trailer wobbling from side to side.

“Wow,” I thought, “This guy’s going to lose a tire.” I was transfixed and although I probably should have moved to another lane, I stayed right behind him watching the left rear trailer tire wobbling like crazy. After a few minutes it finally came apart and the entire tread flew off the tire in one piece.

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This was a small passenger type tire on this small trailer and although I’ll never be able to prove it for certain, I’d have bet my salary that the tread that flew off was NOT from a retread. Nevertheless, I’d also bet my salary that all the other motorists who saw the tread flew off thought, “there goes another retread!”

What’s the moral of this short story?

The real causes of rubber on the road are NOT retreads, but improper tire maintenance and junky old tires that should never be on our highways. If all motorists – both car and truck – would check their tires regularly we would see a dramatic decrease in tire debris on our highways. Here are five tips we should all follow:

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1. DO check your air pressure with a tire gauge regularly and do it while the tires are cold. At least once a week if you are a trucker and at least once a month for all other motorists. If your gauge is old and you think it may not be accurate, throw it away and invest in a new one. It is an investment that will pay big dividends.

2. DON’T thump your tires to determine if they need air. If you think you can tell how much air is in a tire by thumping it you might as well thump the hood of your vehicle to determine if you need oil in your engine.

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3. DO a walk around your vehicle on a regular basis and if you really want to do the right thing for your tires run your hands across the tread area and sidewall of each tire. You might get your hands dirty, but it will be a small price to pay for the anomalies your hands might discover. By finding a problem before it’s too late you might save the tire – and even your life or the lives of others by avoiding a tire failure while you are driving.

4. DON’T wait until the tread on your tires is down to the legal limit before replacing them. Most tire failures occur when the tire approaches the legal limit. An easy way to check is by buying a tread depth indicator, which can be found at most truck stops or auto supply stores. They are very inexpensive and a good investment. If you aren’t certain what the legal limit is for your tires, visit a reputable tire dealer who will be happy to tell you and will also be happy to show you how to use your tread depth indicator.

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5. DO re-read the four steps shown above and share them with the rest of your family. In fact, it would be a good idea to print this and put one copy in each of your vehicles and one copy on the wall in your garage.

What’s the pay off?

There is an old saying that if you take good care of your tools; your tools will take good care of you. Consider your tires as tools. The more care you give to them, the more money you will save and the safer you and your family will be on the highway. Last but not least, you will be helping to contribute to the extinction of road alligator on our highways.

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For more information about the true causes of rubber on the road, contact the Tire Retread & Repair Information Bureau toll free from anywhere in North America at 888-473-8732 or by email to: [email protected]

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