Imperial, California (NAPSI) - Keep your family and vehicle safe as you prepare for your summer travels.

Temperatures are rising and summer road trip season is here. It is imperative for motorists to stay on top of tire maintenance during summer months because as temperatures start to increase, so do the frequency of tire blowouts. Maintaining proper tire pressure not only improves road safety, it gives motorists the most from their tires. Improperly inflated tires lead to decreased steering and braking control as well as excessive tire wear and fuel consumption.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, only 19 percent of consumers keep their tires properly inflated. Improper tire care contributes to about 200 fatalities each year. The agency also estimates that about 11,000 tire-related crashes occur annually.

To get the most from your tires this summer, here are five important maintenance tips from the world’s largest independent tire and wheel retailer, Discount Tire:

1. Get Pressure Right—Low tire pressure can decrease fuel economy. Tires may lose up to one pound PSI (per square inch) of air pressure per month. The specific inflation pressure number may be found on the vehicle placard located inside the driver’s door. Don’t forget to check trailer tires. Checking the tire pressure for boat, travel and utility trailers is as important as for your car or truck. Make it a point to check tire pressure every month, using the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended tire pressure.

2. Stay Sticky with Tread—Lack of tread affects the tire’s ability to stick to the road, especially in wet conditions. Make sure tires don’t have uneven wear, which indicates something is wrong with the tire. High or low spots or unusually smooth areas may decrease traction and increase the risk of road accidents. Road trippers should also check tire tread depth by using the “penny test.” Insert a penny upside down into the tread. If you see Abe Lincoln’s entire head, it’s time to replace the tire.

3. Rotate Often—Regular rotation helps achieve uniform tire wear and improves road performance. Tires rotated every 6,000 miles have longer life and will help maximize your tire investment.

4. Don’t Forget the Spare—Don’t get stuck with a flat tire in the middle of nowhere and discover that your spare is also flat. Check your spare tire on a regular basis as you would your other tires.

5. Don’t Overload—Overloading your vehicle’s or trailer’s carrying capacity is dangerous and can lead to tire failure. Handling, control and braking are also negatively impacted. Check your owner’s manual for load capacity specifications prior to packing your vehicle before vacation.

Remembering these tips and taking five minutes each month to inspect your tires will go a long way in keeping you and your passengers safe. Discount Tire offers free tire air pressure inspections, available at more than 900 locations nationwide. To learn more about tire safety, visit