Tires 101: Summer Travel Safety Tips

American Tire Distributors (ATD) is one of the largest independent suppliers of tires to the replacement tire market. We operate more than 140 distribution centers, including 25 distribution centers in Canada, serving approximately 80,000 customers across the U.S. and Canada. With more than 80 years of experience, we know a thing or two about tires and we want you to be safe every time you get behind the wheel.

The U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association (USTMA) has selected this year’s National Tire Safety Week to be held on May 20–27. This annual consumer awareness campaign educates drivers about tire care, safety and maintenance, including the potential dangers to look out for with unsafe tires.

With school out for the summer, families will be hitting the highways for their annual road trips and teens will be enjoying those warm summer days. Memorial Day weekend kicks off the unofficial beginning of summer and on that weekend alone, according to SuperShuttle, “36.6 million travelers will be driving on the road this year.”

We want each and every one of those 36.6 million travelers to be prepared and well informed before setting off to enjoy the holiday weekend. We recommend these simple but lifesaving tips:

1. Inspect your tires. With the winter cold behind us and summer’s heat coming, temperature can affect the safety and performance of your tires. Check air pressure and tread depth at least once a month and before long trips. Here is a helpful video on the penny test from Michelin. We also recommend you rub your hand over your tires to feel for objects or bubbles.

  1. Check if you have a spare. Before packing the car and setting off for your destination, check to see if you have a spare tire. The location of a spare tire can vary depending on the make and model of the car. We recommend checking your owner’s manual, which will indicate the exact location of your spare. Also ensure you have a jack, tire iron and check the air pressure on the spare tire as it is the most commonly under inflated tire.
  2. See how old your tires are. The age of the tire can also affect their safety and performance. Even if the tire has adequate tread, the rubber can still become inelastic over time. This will affect the overall strength of the tire, while appearing to be ok. There is a DOT number stamped on the sidewall of the tire and our friends at can help you locate that stamp.
  3. Avoid hazards. With your car fully loaded with precious cargo, you’ll want to keep your eyes on the road to avoid any potential hazards on the road ahead. Whether it’s debris on the road or a pothole, hitting something with extra weight in the car can put more stress on your tires. This could mess up the alignment or the balance of the tire, which will lead to uneven tread wear and affect the safety and performance of the tire.

With these simple but lifesaving tips, you’re on your way to becoming a road trip champion and ready to hit the high notes for that family sing along on the radio.

From your friends at ATD, we want you to be prepared for the road ahead so you can thrive and drive into the future. Follow along our Tires 101 blog as we explore the world of tires.

Who we are as people is who we are as a company. We share the same values in the way we work with each other, our partners and our customers. We are ATD.