“A stitch in time saves nine.” I never really understood this proverb when I was growing up, though I certainly heard my father use it on more than one occasion as he cautioned me to take my time before embarking on a new endeavor.

As a personal injury attorney in the Elmira/Corning, New York area, I have now come to understand the true wisdom behind those words, especially when it comes to automobile maintenance. Accidents certainly do happen, but general awareness of basic automobile maintenance can go a long way toward preventing personal injuries and saving lives. Although I do not profess to be an expert mechanic in any way, I have decided to post basic auto tips periodically this summer to inform – or more likely, remind – readers of simple steps you can take to protect your families from injuries sustained in automobile accidents.To many people summer is synonymous with road trips and family vacation, and I hope my tips will help readers stay safe when hitting the roads.

Tip #1 – Check your Tires

Today is my parents’ 40th wedding anniversary. My father, ever the romantic, decided to take my mother to the Sherwood Inn in Skaneateles, New York for a little getaway. Alas, as my parents pulled out of Horseheads to begin their journey, they got a flat tire. Luckily neither was injured and my dad had the tools to change the tire, though they may have been “spared” (I couldn’t resist) a short delay if only my dad had followed his own advice and checked car before getting on the road.

Tires are crucial to vehicle’s handling, traction, and stability, and can cause an automobile to loose alignment if they are not in proper working order. In general, you should check each of tire periodically, or about once a month.

When checking your tires, first look for obvious defects and damage, and visit a professional if anything looks seriously amiss.

It is very wise to carry a tire gauge in your automobile at all times, and you should check the pressure in each of your tires every time you check them. Tire pressure changes due to a variety of factors, though they are most commonly affected by changes in weather or air temperature. A decrease in air temperature often causes a loss in tire pressure, while an increase in air temperature often causes a gain.

Each vehicle has its own recommended air pressure, and information about it can likely be found in your vehicle’s owners manual. Although a tire’s maximum pressure is listed on its in fine print, you should never use max pressure as a guide when filling your tires because over-inflation allows tires to puncture more easily and can create instability for your automobile.

As an avid bicycle rider, I realize the importance of checking the pressure of my bike’s tires before every ride I take to avoid an accident (and make the ride more enjoyable!) Although checking a vehicle’s tires before every trip may be a bit overly onerous, it is something all of us could do a bit more frequently in order to stay safe.

Thanks for reading,

Christina Bruner Sonsire