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How to maintain your tires

Difficulty level: Novice  |  Time required: 5 Minutes  |  Tools required: Tread-depth gauge or penny, tire pressure gauge | Related parts, products, services or technology: None

Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)

The TPMS system* measures tire pressure and alerts the driver if one or more tires is 25 percent below the recommended cold-inflation pressure. If the system detects low pressure in one or more tires, the Tire Pressure Monitor light will come on, stay solid and — depending on the model — include a Check Tire Pressure, Low Tire Pressure or Add Air to Tire message.

When this happens:

  1. Check and adjust all tires to the recommended pressure levels.

  2. Drive the vehicle to turn the light off.

Note: If the Tire Pressure Monitor light appears as a blinking yellow lamp for more than one minute and stays solid, then diagnostic service is needed. If your vehicle’s TPMS is not functioning properly, it cannot detect or signal a low-tire condition.

Monitoring tire pressure (manually)

It’s important to keep your tires within recommended pressure specifications. Underinflated tires handle poorly, wear prematurely and irregularly, and reduce fuel economy. Overinflated tires don’t grip the road well and lead to a rough ride. And both under- and overinflated tires overheat more easily, risking a blowout.

To monitor pressure:

  1. Find the recommended pressure (located in the Owner’s Manual and on your vehicle’s driver’s side door frame).

  2. Using a pressure gauge, check tire pressure at least once a month when the tires are cold (meaning that the vehicle has not been driven for at least 3 hours or no more than 1 mile).

  3. Adjust tire pressure as necessary.

Monitoring tire wear

The National Highway Safety Traffic Administration recommends replacing tires when the tread depth is 2/32 of an inch or less.* There are two easy ways to measure tread depth:

1. Use a tread-depth gauge.

2. Perform the penny test.

a. Place a penny upside down in the tire tread.

b. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, the tire-tread depth is less than 2/32 of an inch and the tire should be replaced.

Other warning signs that your tires should be replaced:

  • Three or more tread-wear indicators around the tire
  • Tire cord or fabric showing through the tire
  • Cracked tire tread or sidewall
  • A bulge or split in the tire
  • A puncture in the tire

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When should I have my tires rotated?

As part of a newly revised maintenance schedule, owners of 2011 model year or newer GM vehicles are advised to see their dealer for a tire rotation every 7,500 miles.

How do I properly store tires?

Tires age when the vehicle remains parked for extended periods of time. If a vehicle will be stored for a month or more, park it in a cool, dry and clean area away from direct sunlight to slow the aging process. The area should be free of grease, gasoline or other substances that can deteriorate rubber. This also applies to unmounted tires.


Parking for an extended period can also cause flat spots that may result in vibrations while driving. When storing a vehicle for more than a month, remove the tires or raise the vehicle to reduce the weight from the tires.

Do I need a wheel alignment?

Proper wheel alignment is key to the life of your tires. If your vehicle is misaligned, it can cause your tires to wear unevenly, and you may experience handling problems such as pulling or abnormal vibration.


Tires and wheels are aligned and balanced at the factory to help provide best overall performance. Adjustments to wheel alignment and tire balancing are not necessary on a regular basis. Consider a wheel alignment check if there is unusual tire wear or if your GMC vehicle is significantly pulling to one side or the other.


A tire that is out of balance often affects ride quality and can shorten the life of tires, bearings, shocks and other suspension components. If the vehicle is vibrating when driving on a smooth road, the tires and wheels may need to be rebalanced.

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To find out if your vehicle has this feature, contact your dealer or refer to your vehicle’s equipment list. Please check your Owner’s Manual for more information about features.