Thursday, June 25, 2015

Make Sure First Car Moments Are Memorable Rather Than Regretable Times

I have partnered with Life of Dad and Michelin for this promotion.  I have received compensation for my participation, but my first car memories are my own. 

Do you remember the moment someone first handed you the keys to your very own car?  My #FirstCarMoment was saving up enough money from summer and part-time jobs to purchase a Buick Skyhawk my Senior year of High School.  Oh the freedom and adventures I had soaring around in my very own ride.  First Car Moments aren't always limited to teens and young adults though as I recently had a #FirstCarMoment when our family purchased and started driving a mini-van, which must be a parenting rite of passage.  We've had a lot of fun and adventures in our new ride, but it is also important to keep safety in mind when you are hauling around valuable cargo like children.

Many parents take a lot of care in making sure children are buckled up properly in a vehicle but don't think much about the safety of the tires they are riding around on.  Michelin encourages drivers to make sure that tires stay in good condition to keep you safe.  To get the most out of your tires - maximum mileage, safety and wear - it is important to properly maintain them.


How often do you you check your tire pressure?  Did you know that tires can lose up to 1psi (pounds per square inch) every month? Underinflation not only reduces your vehicle's gas mileage but could jeopardize the integrity of the tire creating a safety hazard.  Michelin recommends checking your tire pressure every month.  It's easy - here's how to do it:
  • Purchase a tire pressure gauge you can trust - we keep both an old school pencil popper gauge and a newer digital one in our vehicles.
  • Check your tires "cold" before you've driven or at least three hours after you've driven.
  • Insert your tire pressure gauge into the valve stem on your tire (If using a digital reader it should begin reading air pressure immediately.  For the pencil style tire gauges, the gauge will pop out and show a measured number.  When you hear a "pssst" sound that is air escaping the tire which shouldn't affect your tire pressure unless you hold down the air pressure gauge for an extended period.
  • Compare the measured psi to the psi found on the sticker inside the driver's door of your vehicle or in its owner's manual.  Don't compare to the psi printed on your tire's sidewall.
  • If your psi is above the number, let air out until it matches. If below add air until it reaches the proper number.
While doing your monthly air pressure check you may also want to test out the tread on your tires.  Not having enough tread creates safety problems by not allowing for enough grip on the road or increasing the chance of a blow out. We always keep a few pennies in our cars so we can check for wear with some help from Honest Abe.  Here's how:
  • Take a penny and hold Abe's body between your thumb and forefinger.
  • Select a point on your tire where tread appears the lowest and place Lincoln's head into one of the grooves.
  • If any part of Lincoln's head is covered by tread you're driving with a legal and safe amount of tread.  If your tread gets below that (approximately 2/32 of an inch) your vehicle's ability to grip the road in adverse conditions is greatly reduced and really increases the odds of getting into an accident.

Another tire maintenance tip to keep in mind is to regularly rotate your tires.  This involves having every tire and wheel removed from your vehicle and moved to a different position so that all the tires wear evenly and last longer.  Making it a regular routine like changing your oil helps preserve the durability and safety of the tire. Michelin recommends tires should be rotated every six months or 6,000 to 8,000 miles.

 Most First Car Moments though don't involve 40 year old dads with mini vans but rather teens who don't have a lot of experience and can sometimes be lacking common sense when it comes to driving on the road.  Summer is a critical time to remind drivers of the importance of tire safety because the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day is often referred to as the 100 deadliest days for teen drivers, based upon accident data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and National Safety Council.  The cold hard reality is that automobile accidents are the number one killer of teens in America resulting in five thousand deaths per year.  There are also 2.2 million accidents that occur each year in the United States involving inexperienced drivers with 12% of those being the result of tire-related issues (26% are attributed to low tread depth; 32% attributed to improper tire pressure).

Michelin's #FirstCarMoment campaign is designed to create a conversation about the milestone and connect it to the importance of safe tires on that first car - or any car.  For experienced drivers we should use these First Car Moment reflections to remember the importance of taking car of our vehicle's tires and this is a chance to reinforce with new and inexperienced drivers the importance of tire safety.  Reducing the accidents due to improper tire maintenance are preventable and by following the simple tips listed above people can help reduce these accidents and save lives.

I cringe a bit when looking back at some of the trouble I could have gotten into racing around in that Skyhawk as a teen so it really is important for us as adults to reinforce with young and inexperienced drivers the importance of not just driving safely but maintaining a car properly too!

Remembering to check your tire pressure and tread monthly will get you a thumbs up from the Michelin Man for helping to reduce the roughly 264,000 crashes with inexperienced drivers that occur annually due to tire-related issues.

Are your tires ready for summer? Check out this informative video that reinforces the tips that I mentioned above. For more safety tips from Michelin please CLICK HERE.


DISCLAIMER:  It is not recommended to drive wearing a Darth Vader mask or anything that would obstruct your vision.  The photographs used in this post were staged for effect and the publisher never drives while wearing such apparel. 


  1. My husband checks our tires quite often. He has a compressor to put air in them when needed. Thanks for the advice!

  2. My first car was my dad's 1993 Grand Prix and it was teal - so perfect for a teenage girl!

  3. Haha, I love the disclaimer! My first car was a 93 Nissan Altima and we had many, many adventures together that's for sure! I have been driving a mini-van for quite some time...even before kids, I had my grandma's old caravan.