When Should you Replace Your Tires
Your tires are the only parts on your vehicle that have contact with the ground, so they are vital in providing traction and stability. It is worth the short amount of time it takes to regularly inspect the condition of your tires, as they are pulling the most weight to get you to your destination safely.
Tires reach the end of their lifespan by either aging or from lack of maintenance. So, how do we know when it’s time to replace them in order to avoid a potentially dangerous blow-out?
1. AGE OF THE TIRE
Even if you don’t put thousands of miles on your vehicle each month, just exposure to the elements will cause the rubber and other compounds in the tire to deteriorate. Some auto manufacturers recommend replacing tires every five or six years, regardless of tread depth. To find out when the tire was manufactured look on its sidewall find the letters “DOT.” Following that will be a sequence of numbers, which may be in three or four separate windows. The last four numbers tell when the tire was made: “3106” means the tire was built during the 31st week of 2006.
To help warn drivers that their tires have reached that point, tires sold in North America are required to have indicators molded into their tread design called “wear bars” which run across their tread pattern from their outside shoulder to inside shoulder.
The Penny Test can also provide a guide when to replace your tires. Place a penny into several tread grooves across the tire. If part of Lincoln’s head is always covered by the tread, you have more than 2/32″ of tread depth remaining.
If you notice any uneven wear patterns in the tread you should investigate the cause to prevent the premature wear of your tires. Causes of premature wear include: Incorrect tire pressure, misalignment, lack of rotation and front end wear.
Look for any cuts, bubbling, or cracking. These are signs that while the tire may not have covered close to its warranted miles, it’s been on the car long enough to need retiring. Bulges and blisters are serious flaws and should be replaced immediately.
Seven Tire Buying Tips
- Your driving style and operating environment will determine the best tires for your vehicle. Be honest with yourself and your dealer.
- Tire performance is about compromise. High-performance tires wear quickly and can be noisy. Quiet, long-wearing tires sacrifice some performance.
- Consider a dedicated set of wheels for Snow Tires in winter climates. Always run with a full set of four snow tires.
- Don’t mix and match types and ratings of tires. Handling and braking will suffer.
- If you must only replace one or tires due to damage or wear try to match them as closely to the existing tires as possible. If you have an All-Wheel Drive or 4wd vehicle it is recommended to always replace all four tires.
- Make sure the load index rating of the tire is correct for the weight of your vehicle.
- Always use tires for their designed purpose. Off-road tires are useless on the highway, as are high-performance summer tires in wintery conditions.