How to Know When it's Time to Change Your Tires
Knowing when it’s time to change your tires can save you from a lot of stress, extra expenses and, most importantly, it can save you from a potentially very dangerous situation. Take Off Tire’s goal is to keep you safe by providing you the necessary information to make smart decisions when it comes to the life of your tires.
The Penny Test
The penny test is the most popular method for testing the tread depth of your tires. To do this all you’ll need is a penny that has Lincoln’s head visible. Place the penny in several groves of your tires. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, your tire tread is worn too far and you should look into replacing your tires immediately. If your tire tread is only covering Lincoln’s hair, you still have some life left on your tires but you should keep a watchful eye on them and know that getting new tires is on the horizon. If your tire tread is covering Lincoln’s forehead, your tires are in good shape and you have plenty of tire life left. Below are some pictures of what to look for:
1. Need to replace tires
2. Replace tires in near future
3. Tread depth is good and tires are fine
Signs of Damage
It is important to inspect your tires on a regular basis. Damage can happen to tires rather easily but because they are made to be durable the effects of the damage can sometimes take time to truly cause a problem. Some things to keep an eye on include:
1. Cracking or Cuts in Sidewalls
- Cracking in the sidewalls is typically caused by natural weathering of the tires. Weathering is when the rubber in your tires starts to break down. Elements your tires see daily slowly break down the tire’s compounds and reduce the rubber’s flexibility over time. The reduction of flexibility is what causes cracks to develop. Tire technology has advanced to the point where these cracks are not as big of a deal as they once were. However, once you start seeing cracks in your sidewall it is only a matter of time before the tire reaches the end of it’s lifespan. It is very important to keep an eye on cracks to ensure that you don’t split your tire while driving.
- Cracking in the tire’s tread is a much more serious problem. Tire tread cracks can indicate dry rot in your tire that can lead to the tire blowing off the wheel. Cracks in your tire tread need to be examined by a professional immediately.
2. Uneven Tread Wear
- Inner or outer shoulder wear of your tire is likely caused by your vehicle’s wheel alignment being misaligned.
- Center wear of your tires is a typical sign of over inflating your tires.
- Edge wear of your tires is a typical sign of under inflating your tires.
- Patchy wear of your tires indicates your tires are out of balance and a tire rotation is likely overdue.
3. Excessive Tread Wear
- Excessive tread wear can occur for several different reasons such as weathering and letting your uneven tread wear get out of hand. The easiest way to check if your tread depth is okay is the penny test. See above.
4. Bulges and Bubbles
- Bulges or bubbles in your tires are generally caused by impacts on the road. Potholes, curbs, taking a speed bump too fast and small collisions can all cause the sidewall of your tires to bulge. If you see a bulge or bubble on your tire you should stop driving immediately. Tires with this problem are unsafe to drive and should be replaced as soon as possible.
Generally speaking, an average new tire should last about 60,000 miles. However, there are a lot of factors that go into this:
1. Quality of Tire
- Buying a quality tire that is built to last, typically will last. Certain types of tires are built to last longer than others. Pay close attention to what type of tires you purchase and the expected life that comes with them.
2. Driving Style
- Being a careful driver pays off when it comes to tires. Slowly accelerating, taking easy turns and avoiding potholes will all improve the life of your tires.
3. Climate and Location
- Tires wear differently depending where you live and drive. Tires feel the weather and conditions like people do. Imagine exercising in different temperatures and terrains. Just like you might not perform the best on extreme hot and cold days, your tires are impacted in a similar way. Living in a very hot or very cold climate will affect your tires as well as the conditions of the roads of where you live.