Good condition tires make all the difference in how well your car performs. It is also a safety measure to help you avoid accidents that can be caused due to worn-out tires, especially during harsh weather conditions.
Read on to learn when to replace your vehicle’s tires and what maintenance steps you can take to make tires last longer.
When Should Tires Be Replaced?
The best time to replace tires is before a worn or damaged tire causes you to hydroplane, skid into an accident, or have a blowout on a busy highway. Inspect your tires monthly and plan to visit your local auto dealership service department or tire retailer before a severe mishap.
Tires give clues that the end of their useful life is approaching. Some evidence may indicate safety problems requiring immediate attention. Drivers should also watch for telltale signs of potential issues from wear and aging.
Excessive Tread Wear
Properly maintained tires for the average driver can last for tens of thousands of miles. While drivers can expect the loss of tread, premature or irregular tread wear can weaken a tire and become a safety hazard. Unusual or significant tread loss may be a reason to replace a tire. Improper inflation can cause irregular tread wear, but it might be from another issue with the automobile.
- Alignment. Noticeable inner edge wear or outer edge wear may indicate the wheels are not aligned correctly.
- Over inflation. Excessive center tread wear can be a sign the tires are overinflated.
- Under inflation. Underinflated tires can cause the tread edges to wear more than the center.
Measure Low Tread Depth With Penny Test
Tire tread prevents your car from sliding, skidding, and slipping on wet pavement. The United States Department of Transportation recommends replacing tires when the tread wears down to 2/32 of an inch.
Special gauges that measure tread depth are available at auto parts stores. The “penny test” is another easy, quick, and inexpensive method to check the amount of remaining tire tread. Place a Lincoln penny head-first in the tread ribs of the tire. If the tread conceals Lincoln’s head, then you have at least 2/32 of an inch of tread remaining. If his entire head sticks out above the tread, it’s a signal to replace your tires immediately.
You can use the test with Abe’s noggin in addition to the built-in “tread wear indicators” on tires. These raised sections of rubber run between the tire’s tread ribs. It’s time for tire replacement when the tread wears down to be level with the tread indicator.
Regular inspection of your tires might identify areas of damage. Cuts, scrapes, cracks, and bulges in the sidewall can affect the physical integrity of the tire. If you find damage to your tire, take it to a qualified technician for an evaluation.
Damage can happen from road conditions such as running over potholes and speed bumps or rubbing against curbs when parking.
Other situations can contribute to tire damages:
- Dry rot from lack of use
- Rapid acceleration
- Hard braking
- Hard turns
- Failure to investigate changes in performance or vibration