Your tires help keep your car safely on the road over hills, through rough terrain, and around corners. They also help, in conjunction with your brakes, to stop at red lights and other traffic. That’s why it’s so important to frequently check your tires for signs of wear and know when you need to take your vehicle in for brand new ones. Use this checklist and handy guide to help you determine if and when you’ll need new tires for your vehicle.
Signs That You May Need New Tires
Here are some signs you may need to get new tires for your vehicle:
Low Tread Depth
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The tread of your tires is what keeps your car securely on the ground when you turn corners and drive around bends. It also works with your brakes to bring your car to a halt, no matter how fast you’re going. That means tread is one of the most important elements on your tires, and having low tread puts you and your vehicle in danger.
Try the “penny test” to “measure” the tread of your tires. Insert a penny, Lincoln’s head down and facing you, into a tread of your tire. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head, then your tire tread is less than 1/16 (or 2/32) of an inch and your tire needs to be replaced. Try the “quarter test,” where you place a quarter into a tire tread the same way. If the tread is touching Washington’s head, you have at least 1/8 or (4/32) of an inch of tread, so it’s not quite time to replace you tires.
Another easy way to tell if your tread is too low and you need new tires is to inspect your tires for the wear indicators. These are small raised bars, like bridges, between the treads of a tire at various points. Tire manufacturers place these indicators at such a height that, when your tire reaches the minimum legal limit for tire tread (1/16 of an inch), they are easy to spot. However, you may not see them until your tread depth get lower. If you see these bridges at the same level as your tread, it’s time for new tires.
Uneven Tread Wear
When inspecting your tires, check to see if the tread level indicators are poking out in different areas of each tire or if there are areas with worse wear than others. These signs mean that your tires are wearing unevenly, which could be caused by inconsistent tire inflation or a missed tire rotation or two. However, if a standard rotation won’t do the trick to fix it, you may need to replace your tires.
Age of Your Tires
You can find the tires’ manufacturing date on the sidewalls. You’ll see four digits, with the first two indicating the week the tire was made and the last two indicating the year. Then, check your tire manufacturers’ recommended timeframe for replacing tires. If it’s, say, 10 years, then look at the manufacturing date on the tire. Then add 10 years to that to figure out when the tire should be replaced. If you’ve passed that date, make an appointment pronto.
If you notice any damage to your tires, such as punctures, blisters, cuts, or cracks, it may be time to get the tire replaced. Punctures and cuts mean that your tire has been damaged by sharp road debris, like rocks, glass, or metal, while blisters can indicate damage inside the tire. And while your tire may survive with a stuck nail, patched wall, or other temporary damage for a little bit, it’s best to get your tire replaced as soon as possible to prevent further damage to the tire, or worse, to your vehicle. If you notice any damage or weird noises coming from your vehicle, make sure you bring your car in for a tune-up and have a professional see to your car.
Not Holding Air
If you notice that you have to fill up one or more of your tires with air more often, then you may have a damaged tire that’s not holding air. This can lead to uneven tread wear and further, more severe damage to your tires. In this case, it’s best to get your tires replaced if it can’t be patched by a professional.
Vibration While You Drive
This sign is tricky because vibration while you drive can be a sign of uneven wear or low-tread tires, which put more strain on the suspension and the driver controlling the vehicle. However, vibration can also be a sign that your tires need rotating, that there’s something wrong with your suspension, or something else entirely. Bring your vehicle in for an inspection if this occurs. If you’re hearing a squealing sound when braking, it may be time to also replace your brakes!
Exposure to Severe Weather Conditions
Living in northern Texas, we’re used to heat, which can increase tire pressure and your risk of a blowout. Plus, the hot sun beats down UV light rays, which can deteriorate the rubber of your tires and make them worse for wear.
If you also drive your car in colder climates, like traveling north or in the case of extreme winter weather here in the Corinth area, your tires can sustain damage that way, too. You might have reduced tire pressure, a scrape from the ice, or other damage from salt or rocks.
How Often Do You Need New Tires?
Some tire manufacturers suggest getting new tires based on how many miles you’ve driven with them. For example, Goodyear suggests getting new tires every 3,000 miles. Other manufacturers may recommend replacing them after 10 years. However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends changing tires out every 6 years, regardless of how many miles you drive. You can always check your tire’s manufacturer’s recommendations or ask your dealership’s mechanic when you bring your vehicle in for regular service.
If you notice any of the previously listed signs on your tires, you may need to get the impacted tires replaced.
What Problems Can Occur When Your Tires Are Too Worn Out?
If you don’t get new tires in time, you could risk putting your vehicle in the following inconvenient or dangerous situations:
- Poor braking.
- Unable to brake suddenly.
- Skidding or sliding on the road during a stop or turn.
- Hydroplaning during a storm.
- Increasing wear on your brakes, the suspension, the engine, and other parts of the vehicle.
When you’re ready for new tires, trust Huffines Kia Corinth to inspect your tires, help you choose the best ones for your vehicle and driving habits, and install them for you correctly and efficiently. Call our service department for an appointment, and then navigate your way to our convenient location on South Interstate 35 East in Corinth.