(ARA) - With temperatures dropping and school back in full swing, now is the time to get your car ready for cooler weather. Here's why the fall and winter can be so demanding on your tires, and how to stay safe throughout the seasons:

* Recover from summer: Following the busy summer driving season and numerous road trips, your tires may be a little tired. A study conducted by Hankook Tire America Corp found that 70 percent of Americans planned to take a road trip this past summer, with the average American logging approximately 725 miles on their vehicle. With increased wear and tear on your tires as a result of summer trips, the tread depth may not be what it used to be. Tires with unsatisfactory tread depth decrease the tire's traction in various road conditions and can potentially put you and your passengers at risk. Tires must be replaced when the tread is worn down to 2/32 of an inch. You can easily check your tires' tread once a month by using the quarter test - place a quarter, head down into the tread of the tire. If George Washington's entire head is showing, your tread is too low.

* Air 'em up: Did you know tire pressure changes as the outdoor temperature does? For every 10 degree change in temperature, your tires lose or gain 1 to 2 pounds of pressure, meaning as the hot summer weather gives way to a cooler fall, your tires will be losing air pressure. Add foliage, rain and slick driving conditions to the mix and it is even more essential to have the right tire pressure. Proper inflation maintains an even contact pressure of the tread to the road offering the performance the tire was designed to provide, while at the same time helping to prevent uneven wear. Proper inflation also reduces rolling resistance and quickly discharges heat that is generated. The correct tire inflation pressure for your vehicle can be found in the vehicle's owner's manual. While correct tire inflation is key to performance, it is also important to remember to not overinflate your tires. When tires are overinflated, they are more susceptible to road hazards and damage.

*Be safe…and save: The fall season means school is back in full swing. With that comes the ritual of shuttling kids to school, extracurricular activities, sports practice and school events adding mileage to the everyday routine. Trips to college homecoming festivities, football games and Thanksgiving gatherings can also translate into some serious mileage on your vehicle's tires. If you're ready to replace your tires, choose an all-season tire, such as the new for 2011 Hankook Optimo H426 or Dynapro HT, which decrease rolling resistance creating a smooth, quiet ride in all-season conditions. By minimizing wasted energy and improving fuel efficiency, lower rolling resistance tires can save you gas and money, while keeping the kids safe. Take advantage of special offers that will save you money like Hankook's Great Hit promotion, which could allow you to save up to $80 on a set of four tires.

A little tire care can go a long way to keeping you and your vehicle safe on the road this fall.Taking care of tired tires

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Category: Automotive