Years of driving your car through different seasonal conditions will eventually take a toll on the vehicle, no matter how hard you work to maintain your car. Still, regular maintenance requires paying attention to the vehicle, and being aware of the signs that a trip to the mechanic is in the cards.
Among the most important parts of your vehicle to keep in good shape are your tires and wheel systems. After all, the wheels and tires are part of one of the vehicle’s most essential systems. They play big roles in your vehicle overall stability, performance, fuel efficiency and safety. Neglecting them could likewise lead you to face significant accident risks.
The Importance of Well-Functioning Tires
Should your tires not work correctly, they cannot properly grip the road, and you won’t be able to fully control the vehicle. Some of the problems that might arise include:
- You might not be able to maintain a straight path on the road.
- Your ability to stop quickly can drop. You might eat up valuable pavement (that you might not have) when trying to stop with damaged tires.
- Tire pressure might drop, causing performance to drop and fuel consumption to increase. Besides facing increased gasoline bills, you might also place undue strain on the rest of the car, potentially creating other problems.
Your car has to work just like the well-oiled machine that it is in order to provide you with the best safety and performance conditions. Otherwise, when problems with your tires occur, your risks of an accident or catastrophic car failure might increase.
As a result, you might have a higher risk of having to file a claim on your auto insurance. If you do that, then the insurance company might begin to view you as a high-risk driver. They might raise your policy prices, and even cancel your coverage following severe accidents.
What Can Happen to Your Tires
There are numerous problems that might develop in your tires.
- The tire’s treads will begin to wear down over time. As tread wears down, your ability to control the vehicle and stop safely will decrease.
- Over time, the tire’s air pressure will change. Improper tire pressure (either too-high or too-low) might increase the risk of blowouts or flats.
- Flat tires might occur for any number of reasons. Both slow or sudden leaks pose a risk to the vehicle. If you don’t notice slow leaks, you might drive your vehicle with a clear and present danger that might suddenly cause a problem.
Obviously, no one wants to see these damages to your vehicle. However, one catch is that your car insurance likely won’t pay for tire damage stemming from normal wear and tear. Therefore, you can’t file a claim from a simple flat tire. Still, your policy might cover tire damage should you receive damage during an accident or other sudden mishap
Protecting Your Tires
Taking care of your tires doesn’t have to be difficult. Whether you maintain your tires yourself or use a mechanic’s services, always check the following at regular intervals:
- The alignment of your tires. This will help create optimal balance and vehicle stability.
- Your tire treads. Treads measuring at or under 2.32” are unsafe in most cases. They can usually rotate your tires to ensure they wear down evenly.
- Your wheel apparatus for signs of warping or damaged nuts and bolts.
- Your tire pressure. You should check the tire pressure yourself roughly every 6 weeks.
Simply taking a look at your tires before each drive can help you catch a problem before it has time to become a disaster. Most vehicles also come equipped with warning lights that will alert drivers to low tire pressures. If you notice problems, you should have a mechanic check the tire as soon as possible.
FAQ’s About How Do You Know When It’s Time to Buy New Tires?
How can I tell if my tires need to be replaced?
Check your tires for signs of wear such as tread depth below 2/32 of an inch, visible tread wear indicators, cracks, bulges, or bubbles on the sidewalls, and any signs of uneven wear or damage.
What is the penny test for tire tread depth?
The penny test is a simple way to measure tread depth. Insert a penny into the tread groove with Lincoln’s head upside down. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, it’s time to buy new tires because the tread depth is less than 2/32 of an inch.
How often should I check my tire tread?
It’s recommended to check your tire tread at least once a month. Regular checks can help you identify when it’s time to consider purchasing new tires.
Is there a recommended mileage at which I should replace my tires?
While there’s no one-size-fits-all mileage for tire replacement, most tires are designed to last between 25,000 and 50,000 miles. Always refer to the manufacturer’s recommendations and monitor your tires’ condition regularly.
Can the age of my tires affect when they need to be replaced?
Yes, tires age over time, which can lead to degradation of the rubber compound, even if the tread is not worn down. It’s generally advised to replace tires every six years, regardless of tread wear.
What are tread wear indicators and how do I use them to determine if I need new tires?
Tread wear indicators are raised sections spaced intermittently in the bottom of tread grooves. When these indicators are flush with the tread, it’s a sign that the tread depth has reached 2/32 of an inch and the tire should be replaced.
Does the type of driving I do affect how quickly my tires wear out?
Yes, your driving habits can significantly affect tire longevity. Frequent short trips, aggressive driving, and driving on rough roads can accelerate tire wear.
Are there any risks associated with driving on worn tires?
Driving on worn tires increases the risk of tire failure, reduced traction and grip, especially in wet conditions, leading to longer stopping distances and a higher risk of hydroplaning. It’s essential to maintain tires in good condition to ensure safety.
How do weather conditions affect my tires?
Extreme temperatures and exposure to sunlight can cause the rubber in your tires to deteriorate more quickly. In hot climates, tires can become more susceptible to wear and tear, while in cold climates, tires can lose flexibility, leading to cracks.
Should I replace all four tires at the same time?
It’s ideal to replace all four tires simultaneously for balanced handling and traction. However, if only replacing two, install the new tires on the rear axle to help prevent oversteer and loss of vehicle stability in wet conditions.