How To Tell If You Need New Tires

May 2nd, 2023 by

As you know, your tires need to be in good condition to enable you to drive safely. Without a complete set of well-conditioned tires, driving may not be possible at all. Therefore, keeping your tires well-maintained is vital so you can get to work, visit family, or go away for a weekend.

Signs It’s Time for New Tires

Tire Technician replacing a wheel

There are several ways to tell whether it’s time to buy new tires. Your mechanic can look at your tires during your routine maintenance visits, or you can stop by for a tire check. We offer tire pressure and wear checks in our express lane. There are also some key changes you can look for at home, which we’ll talk about next.

Tread Depth

As you drive on your tires, the tread will naturally wear down over time. Your tire tread is essential to help you maintain a good grip on the road, so when the tread gets low, you can start to slip, especially on wet surfaces. You may need to change your tires sooner if you often driving in adverse weather. The lowest you should let your tread get is 1/16th of an inch in depth. You can measure this using a gauge, or you can slip a Lincoln-head penny into the tread. If Lincoln’s entire head is exposed, your tread is too low.

Tread Wear Indicator Bars

If you look at your tire tread, you may notice bars of rubber placed perpendicular to the tread. These are tread wear indicator bars. They won’t be easy to spot if the tires are brand new, but as the tread wears down, they’ll become easier to see. The closer the tread wears down toward these indicator bars, the sooner you need to replace your tires. If you drive through a wet patch, you can also see the marks from the tread wear indicator bars left in your tire tracks.

Uneven Wear

As we mentioned above, it’s normal for tire tread to wear down over time. However, the pattern of wear is also important. Tires should wear evenly, and uneven wear can be a sign of other problems with your tires, such as overinflation or underinflation, incorrect wheel alignment, not rotating your tires, steering, and suspension. Our express lane service offers tire rotation.

Sidewall Cracks

This problem isn’t about wear but about the integrity of the tire sidewall. If you see cracks, cuts, or missing spots in the sidewall, your tires could be at risk of leaking or blowing out. Sidewall damage can be caused by factors that are mostly out of your control, such as sunlight, chemicals on the road, and tire aging, as well as impact damage, such as hitting rocks or potholes.

Blisters and Bulges

These are also signs of sidewall weakness. If you see an area of your tire that seems to be blistering out, then it’s a sign that it’s time to replace the tire. Bulges and blisters are spots where the internal part of the tire is weak, and air within the tire is pushing outward. These tires have a risk of blowouts, and you should replace them right away.

Embedded Objects

If objects such as nails or rocks are stuck in the tire, you should get a professional to check the tire out. Although a complete replacement may or may not be necessary, it’s best not to ignore these embedded objects. They can lead to leaks or blowouts or allow moisture to enter the tire and damage the internal components.

Valve Cap Damage

If your valve cap doesn’t tighten and seal properly, air can escape out, leading to a leaky tire and low pressure. Alternatively, dirt and moisture can get in through the loose valve cap. Insufficient or excessive tightening usually causes valve cap damage.

Tire Pressure Warning

It’s normal to need to inflate your tires from time to time as they naturally lose some pressure. Typically, this is around 1 PSI per month. However, if you find yourself having to inflate your tires often or your tire pressure light indicator keeps switching on, you may have a problem with the tire constantly leaking.

Rough Ride

If you notice excessive vibration while you drive, your tires could be the culprit. This can happen with uneven tire wear. Other causes of increased vibration include problems with the suspension or the tire alignment. If the vibration isn’t caused by a tire problem, it could lead to tire problems over time, so getting your vehicle checked out is a good idea.

How Often Do You Usually Need To Replace Your Tires?

The answer to this question depends on many factors, including how the tires are stored, how old the tires are, how well they are maintained, and how they are used. Typically, regardless of how the tires look, it’s recommended to get them changed after 10 years. With general use, which is around 12,000-15,000 miles of driving per year, your tires may last between three and five years.

Why Is It Important To Replace Your Tires When It’s Time?

Your tires are a crucial part of the safe operation of your vehicle on the road. They grip your vehicle to the ground below, manage water to prevent hydroplaning, and keep you smoothly and comfortably moving in a controlled manner. If your tires become old and damaged, you could end up in a potentially dangerous situation, such as:

  • Loss of road grip, leading to slipping or skidding.
  • Troubles with braking and stopping.
  • Tire blowouts or a sudden loss of tire pressure, which could make you lose control of your vehicle.
  • Being stranded in an unfamiliar or inconvenient location.

If you’re in the Carmel area, we’d love to help you with all your tire needs. You can replace your tires with our professional, friendly service department or simply schedule another service. Whatever you need, you can call us, stop by, or leave a message in our online form.

Photo Credit: Man Changing a Car Tire by Andrea Piacquadio is licensed with Pexels License

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