Check tires regularly for safety, wear clues

Underinflated tires can cut fuel economy by up to 5 percent, according to the people who build and sell tires.

Too, tires wear out more quickly if the air pressure is low.

Check the tire pressure at least once a month, urge tire engineers, using your own quality-built gauge for an accurate reading. Because cold weather reduces the air pressure in tires, it is especially important to keep an eye on the tires in the late fall, winter, and early spring.

If a tire constantly calls for more air, find out why and correct the problem.

Further, inspect the tires closely for cuts or other damage and remove any stones, glass, or other foreign objects from the tread.

Check the tread depth by inserting a Lincoln-head penny into the tread. If Lincoln's head is seen, your tires are getting too thin.

Irregular tread wear is costly and can be due to a variety of problems, such as front-end misalignment, worn shock absorbers, or worn ball joints in the suspension. A wheel alignment costs in the vicinity of $25.

Don't neglect the spare tire. Check it for the proper air pressure.

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