Car owners who don’t know a lot about vehicle maintenance and repair often don’t recognize signs that parts of their vehicle need to be replaced. Wheels are some of the most commonly overlooked and underserved car parts.
Your vehicle’s tires work hard every time you go on the road. As they age, they become more and more worn down, especially if you use the same set of tires year round. As a result, your tires will need to be replaced.
While the expense of getting new tires may tempt you to hang on to your old tires for as long as possible, driving on worn-out tires can compromise your safety. Tire failure can be dangerous, especially on busy roads, and can cause damage to your vehicle and to other motorists. This can end up being far more costly than replacing the tires in the first place.
Knowing when to replace your tires can be difficult to discern, especially for people who are not as familiar with car mechanics. Here are a few ways you can tell if your tires are expiring:
Excess vibration — While there are good vibrations, there are also bad vibrations, which shouldn’t be ignored if coming from your vehicle. If you are driving on a dirt road, or one that is worn, chances are you will feel vibrations. However, if you feel vibrations while driving on roads that are freshly paved, there might be something wrong with your vehicle.
There are a lot of things that can cause vibrations, many of which can end up causing damage to your tires. However, vibrations can also indicate a problem with your tires. If you feel your car shaking excessively, you should take it into a mechanic to see what’s wrong.
Tire tread — Tires gain traction on the road through the tread on the tire. Having no traction can be dangerous, especially if you drive on wet or icy roads. Having insufficient tread can result in skidding and losing control of your vehicle.
If the tread of your tires ever falls below 1/16 of an inch, you should definitely replace your tires. One way to determine if your tread is good enough is to have a mechanic check the tread when you take your vehicle in for repairs or maintenance. However, you can also check your tread at home using a penny. By inserting the penny with Abraham Lincoln’s head facing down, you can gauge whether or not your tread is deep enough. If Abe’s head disappears, your tires are fine. However, if his whole head is visible, it’s time to change your tires. Honest Abe doesn’t lie.
Another problem you might run into is having tires with different tread depths. This can be caused by not rotating your tires or can also indicate issues with your vehicle’s alignment. Having different treads on your tires can make your car hard to handle. After fixing any alignment issues and vowing to get your tires rotated regularly, you should replace your tires, so the uneven tread doesn’t continue to cause problems.
Damaged tires — No matter the age of your tires, there’s a chance that they can sustain damage other than wear and tear on the tread. Damage is most noticeable in the sidewall of the tire, which is easy to check for. Cracks in the sidewall could be a sign that your tire is developing a leak or that you’ve been driving tires that are underinflated.
Other signs of damage to watch out for are bulges and blisters. If the tire is beginning to weaken structurally, it will exhibit symptoms through a bump on the side of the tire. These bumps can turn into significant problems if not addressed, as they could cause your tire to blow out.
If you notice any bulges or cracks appearing, you can take your car to a tire specialist and ask them for their opinion. However, there’s a good chance those tires will need to be replaced.
Tire age — Tire manufacturers and technicians have varying ideas as to how old is too old for a tire to be on the road. However, a good age to start looking at replacing your tires is six years. While tread can be a good indicator of how your tires are doing, there may be internal issues that you can’t see with the naked eye that may impact your safety. Wear and tear depend on how you drive, what kind of roads you’re driving on, how much pressure is in your tires, how you brake, and how often you drive. Additionally, if your tires have been patched for leaks, or have been punctured by nails and other sharp objects, they will age faster.
Tires that are “aged” can cause problems as tread can separate from the inside of the tire while driving, or the tire could burst. These situations can end with the driver losing control and causing an accident. Additionally, many people buy used tires without knowing the age or condition of the tires. These kinds of situations put drivers at higher risks for accidents because of their tires. If your tires are older than five years old, you should take them into a technician to determine if they are still safe to drive on.
If you discover any of the above issues with your tires, it’s essential to fix the problem right away. If you don’t, not only are you jeopardizing your own safety, but also the safety of others on the road. Replacing your tires promptly could not only save your life but also protect your car from further damage in the future.