Knowing When to Replace Your Tires
Image via Flickr by omninate

Knowing when to replace your car’s tires isn’t an exact science. A lot of factors determine when you should buy new tires. Generally, though, you can follow these four tips to know when your car needs new tires.

Replacing Tires by Mileage

The average tire can handle about 40,000 miles of travel before it starts becoming unsafe. That number depends on the vehicle’s weight, weather conditions, the types of surfaces you drive on, and how many nails you run over. In other words, don’t take this number as a certainty. If your tires are reaching 40,000 miles, though, it’s time to take a close look at them. They’re probably due for a change.

Measure Your Tread

Your tires should have tread at least 1/16 of an inch deep. If you live in a place where the roads are wet, icy, or otherwise slick, then your tread should be at least twice that. Over time, friction between the road and your tires start to wear on the tread. Every time you drive, you leave a tiny bit of tread on the road. It’s immeasurably small, but it adds up. You don’t need a ruler to measure your tread depth. You just need a penny. Turn the penny so that the top of Lincoln’s head faces the tire. Insert the penny between the tread. If you can still see the entire head, then you need to replace your tires. The tread has worn too thin for you to drive safely.

Look for Cracks in the Sidewall

You probably don’t pay much attention to your tires’ sidewalls, but they’re a crucial part of keeping you safe on the road. If the sidewalls fail, then your whole tire could fall apart. Look for cracks in the sidewall. The cracks can look like dry rot. If you see anything resembling this, then your tires are getting too old. They’re probably already leaking air. Get them replaced immediately before you have a blow out on the highway. Sidewalls can get cracked in several ways. Time, rain, and ice will certainly cause cracks. You can also expect cracks to develop more quickly if you need to have your wheels realigned. Poor alignment causes tires to rub the road in unintended ways. This can cause the sides to crack within a fairly short period of time.

You Need Air Often

You can’t always see what’s wrong with a tire. You have to look for signs that something just isn’t right. This one is a pretty easy sign to spot, mostly because it annoys people so much. If you have to put air in your tires frequently, then you probably have a leak. A professional might find a way to fix the leak, or you might need a new tire. You won’t know until someone takes a closer look. How often is too often? That depends. You should check your pressure at least once a month. Expect pressure to fall quickly during the cold winter months. They should remain stable during the summer. Generally, you shouldn’t have to put air in your tires every month. That indicates a potential problem.

Is it time for you to change your car’s tires? Do you have any other tips for people who haven’t purchased new tires before?

How Often Should You Replace Your Tires? 4 Ways to Know if Your Car’s Due For New Ones