How to know when your car tires need replaced

Posted Sunday, Oct 31, 2021

No matter what you drive, knowing when your car tires need replaced is vital to the safe operation of your vehicle. Bad tires affect how your car handles the roads, can cause internal damage to your vehicle and can affect gas mileage.

 

Causes of bad tires

 

Just about everything in your vehicle causes wear on your tires. As such, it is important to follow a regular schedule of oil changes, maintenance checks, and wheel rotations.

 

The most common causes of bad tires include:

 

  • Poor driving habits like accelerating at stop signs and lights, slamming on the brakes, and taking corners too quickly.

  • Driving on rough roads, failing to navigate potholes, hitting curbs and sidewalks, and driving in the wrong gear.

  • Failing to use the correct tires. Your vehicle’s owner’s manual will tell you the recommended tire size and enlist the help of an expert to discuss your options.

 

Learn the Signs

You can identify a lot of issues with your vehicle by how it feels when you drive it. A vibration when driving or a squirrely feeling can indicate issues that need addressed.

The following tips will help you identify maintenance needs for your tires. Check each tire especially if they’re not all the same.

 

  • Look at the age of your tires. The pros advise us to change our tires about every 6 years. If you didn’t purchase the tires, check the wall of the tire. Most wheels have a 4-digit code after a series of numbers and letters that start with “DOT”.

For example, your tires might read something like: “DOT R23TF21000384 0219”. In this example, the “0219” means manufacturers made the tires in the second week of 2019.

 

  • Examine the edges of the tires. The edges reveal where you may have hit a curb, turned a little too fast, and reveal inflation issues. Check your tires for scalloped patterns with strange curvature, bulges, dry rot, and bubbling.

  • Check the tread. The tread is the pattern of high and low spots on your tire. Grooves mean different things and need to be worn for tire health and safety. Check your tread wear by placing a penny head down into the deepest groove.

 

If you can see the hair on Lincoln’s head, your tires need replacement—as soon as possible. If the tread covers Lincoln’s forehead, the wear is probably minimal.

 

  • Check the inflation. First, find out what your PSI rating is for your tires. The PSI, or Pounds per Square Inch, is the unit of measurement for air in your tires. You can find the PSI range on the walls of your tire.

 

You should always inflate your tires within that range. A tire pressure gauge can determine the current inflation and adjust it to match the recommended range.

 

  • Understand wear patterns. Under-inflated tires will show uneven wear around the edges. Over-inflated tires will show wear in the middle. These types of tread wear can mean poor wheel alignment and should be rotated and checked as soon as possible.

 

Since wear can also show problems with mechanical components, such as shocks and struts, and brake pads, it’s important to know what type of drive you have.

Front-wheel drive means your vehicle is heavier on the front than on the back. Essentially, the drive wheels will pull the car forward so your front tires will wear faster.

On a rear-wheel-drive vehicle, the drive tires are in the back and push the car forward. Therefore, the back tires will wear faster.

 

Protect your tires

 

Fortunately, there are several measures you can take to help keep your tires healthy. One of the most important is to drive smart:

 

  • Avoid driving in inclement weather

  • Don’t slam on the brakes at stop signs and lights

  • Don’t follow too close to the vehicle in front of you

  • Avoid potholes and road grooves

  • Take corners at safe speeds

  • Drive the speed limit

 

Following traffic rules is just the start. You’ll also need to ensure proper maintenance of your vehicle and its tires.

 

  • Rotate your tires. Make it a habit to do this with your oil change so you don’t forget.

  • Keep your tires covered. Try to park in a shaded area, keep it in a garage or under a carport to avoid exposure to the elements.

  • Check the PSI monthly. If you notice a tire is constantly needing inflated, get it checked. A slow leak can quickly lead to problems.

  • Don’t mismatch tires. Tires are expensive, but improper use can lead to even more expensive car problems.

  • Avoid overload. Your vehicle has a weight limit for a reason. If you overload your vehicle, it puts more pressure on the tires.

  • Align your tires regularly. Experts recommend having your wheels aligned every 2 to 3 years. However, if your car responds poorly or pulls one way or another when driving straight, it’s necessary to get it checked out.

 

Make sure when you buy new tires you understand what you are looking for, consult with experts, and shop smartly. Good tires are your first line of defense on the road and can make all the difference when traveling safely. Please visit us and let your friends and family know to buy their next car at City Wide Motors.