The last longer than you think, but not forever

Quick Notes

  • You can do a simple inspection to check your tires.

  • Some general tire maintenance will prevent them from wearing too quickly

As the saying goes “a lot is riding on your tires.” Even though you may spend a lot of time driving your vehicle, you may not notice when you need new tires because it is often a slow wear down and degradation. So how do you know when to replace your tires? Here are some tips and information:

When to replace your tires

1. The tires look bad – If one or more of your tires is cracked or looks lumpy, even after filling with air, it may be time to replace them. Sidewall cracks are a sign that your tire either has, or is developing, a leak. If your tires don’t have cracks but have bulges or blisters, these are signs of a weak spot that can lead to a tire blow out.

2. Low or uneven tire tread – Tire tread depth is important as it affects your car’s ability to stop in wet weather. The more shallow the tread, the greater the likelihood of hydroplaning in wet weather. If the tire is 4/32″ or less, consider replacing your tires.

3. Uneven wear pattern – If you notice that when you look at your car tires there is an uneven wear pattern, there is an area that is wearing faster than others, that worn spot is what you should use to determine when to replace the tires. Tires should be rotated approximately every 6,000 miles to avoid uneven tread wear.

4. Aged tires – Tires have a wear life that expires before the materials they are composed of start to degrade. Once the material of the tire starts to degrade the safety of the entire tire is compromised. Tires have a lifespan of approximately 6 years. They usually wear out before they age out, but if you do not drive your vehicle a lot and it has been sitting and you see visible signs of age, you should consider replacing the tires.

Aging and chemical breakdown of the tire can lead to dry rot. Dry rot can lead to tire failure and possible blowouts at high speeds. To figure out the age of your tire, look at the sidewall of your tire.

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This DOT will be followed by a number denoting week and year of manufacture. For example, 5219 would indicate that the tire was manufactured in the 52nd week of the year of 2019.

5. Tire vibration – A tire can vibrate for a few reasons, some normal when it relates to bumpy roads. If the vibration is accompanied by a shake that becomes worse as the car’s speed increases, your tire is likely misaligned, unbalanced, or your shock absorbers may require replacement.

If the vibration is not coming from the tire, it can still damage the tire and lead to a needed replacement. If you cannot see signs of irregular wear on your tires and the vibration continues, take your car in for an inspection before investing in new tires.

General Tire Tips

If your budget allows, replace all four tires at the same time unless you’ve experienced a blowout or one tire failure. Otherwise, replacing just one tire means that this new tire will have a different tread depth, different stopping time, and different tire wear than the remaining tires.

This can create a variety of issues in terms of the drivetrain parts and joints. As tire tread wears down, the width changes which effectively makes the vehicle drive as if you had one totally different tire installed even if it were to be the same brand.

Tire Maintenance

1. Proper inflation – Tires will slowly lose air over the course of driving so you should regularly check the air pressure of your tires. Proper air pressure is indicated on a sticker placed inside the door jamb of your vehicle. Check the pressure once a month. Measuring when the tires are cold, before they have been drive long distances. Driving and heat increase the tire pressure so measuring at this time will prevent you from inflating the tires to the correct pressure. Tire underinflation affects driver control as it makes the ride softer. It also lowers the car’s fuel economy costing you more money.

If your budget allows, replace all four tires at the same time unless you’ve experienced a blowout or one tire failure.

Underinflation is also one of the most common causes of tire failure. Underinflation causes too much flexing in the sidewalls which makes them run hot. This buildup of heat can cause tread separation or a blowout; or even possibly a slow leak that causes the tire to lose air.

2. Tire rotation – Car tires wear differently depending on their location on the vehicle. They carry a different load, different braking functions and perform different steering functions. This means the tires end up with different wear patterns. To ensure maximum performance and lifetime of your tires, be sure to rotate them regularly following your manufacturer’s recommendation.

3. Wheel alignment – Wheel alignment involves the measurement of the position of the wheel along certain vehicle specifications. Wheel installation or placement outside of these measurements can lead to uneven wear, which leads to issues with vehicle handling, vibration, and reduced fuel economy. Wheel alignment should be checked at the time of each tire installation.

4.Tire balancing – Tire balancing involves the placement of small weights to prevent or limit the vibration of the tire and wheels as they rotate. Tires should be balanced anytime a tire is removed from the vehicle.

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