How to Break in New Car Tires

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The equipment used by today’s mechanics to install and balance new car tires is very sophisticated. As a result, today’s drivers can largely avoid problems related to improper installation. But it’s important to note that freshly installed tires aren’t completely seated in their wheel rims. It takes several miles of driving to help them get settled, and if the tires are treated too roughly during this time, they may not settle in properly. Observe these driving tips for the first 50 miles driven on any new tires.

  • Stay away from dirt or gravel roads, construction zones and other rough surfaces. These cause lots of bouncing, and debris can sometimes be kicked up and lodged in between the tire and the rim, creating potential for a leak.

  • Accelerate and brake lightly. Sudden starts and stops put extreme pressure on tires. This is generally OK to do once the tires are seated properly, but it can cause problems while the tires are still fresh.

  • Keep your speed under 50 mph. It can be hard to discipline yourself to abide by this rule when traveling on the highway, but it’s worth it to keep your new tires in good working condition.

  • Avoid the types of automatic car washes that work by grasping the wheels on one side of your car and pulling you along a track. These mechanisms can pull unseated tires farther from the rims.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you have a tripometer on your car, reset it before leaving the tire shop so that you’ll know when you’ve hit 50 miles and can resume normal driving. If you do not have a tripometer, consider noting the mileage on a sticky note and sticking it to the dashboard.
  • Check your tire pressure once a month, as well as before any long car trip or before transporting a heavy load with your vehicle.
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