When a blowout happens on a busy highway, the incident can be frightening as well as potentially dangerous. Few experiences quite match trying to change a tire as traffic whizzes by at 60-plus miles an hour. The act of getting back on the road after the tire change can be a challenge as well.

Proper tire inflation affects your vehicle's handling, wheel balance, tire life, the quality of your ride and fuel economy. Improperly inflated tires can degrade fuel economy by 2 percent, which adds up over time.

First, buy a tire pressure gauge and check your tires at least once a month. You can find your proper tire pressure either on the placard located in the driver-side door jamb or in your owner's manual.

When you check your tire pressure, Clean Machine recommends you take the time to inspect the wear and tear on your tire tread. Worn tread, especially on one side, indicates a wheel balance problem. If you find that your tire is underinflated or that there is excessive wear, it is time to take your vehicle in to have your tire replaced or rotated, and possibly have your wheels balanced.

One thing you might also want to consider is investing in a proper spare tire. The "doughnuts" that come with your vehicle will get you where you need to go, but are not suitable for freeway driving.

Finally, you should note that many newer cars have a tire pressure monitoring system. Don’t ignore a warning light if it comes on. It could mean you are about to have a flat or if it’s simply underinflated and you keep driving on it, it can damage your tire quickly.

The next time you’re at the car wash, why not take a minute to inspect your tires. Safe driving from Clean Machine Car Wash!

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