Why are a set of good tires is essential to vehicle safety?
Worn out tires could lead to unwanted accidents.
If you have children, you should especially concern yourself with the state of your tires. Although they can be a pain in the wallet when it comes time to replace them, replacement is essential.
You’ll clearly need to replace your tires if you get a blowout or a flat. Barring the worst of situations, how often should you get new tires? There are some simple visual tests you can perform to check the quality of your tires.
Regular maintenance is the key to a long vehicle life. Below you’ll find a quick guide to knowing when you should replace your tires.
Look at the Wear Bars
Tire manufacturers place wear bars on the tires, running perpendicular to the tread. When the tires are new, they should only be minorly visible.
You’ll drive around for a little while and rack up the miles on your tires. You may not even think about your tire tread for a while.
As the tire wears down, these bars will become more and more visible. When the bars are level with the tread, you should consider replacing the tires. At this point, the tread is worn down beyond what’s safe.
Beyond a quick visual inspection, you should consider measuring your tire tread depth.
Measure Your Tread Depth
You can easily measure the tread depth of each tire using a penny or a quarter.
With the quarter, turn it so Washington’s head is pointed toward the ground. Place it in the tire tread. If the tread is even with Washington’s head, you should consider shopping for tires.
At this point, you can still safely drive on your tires.
With the penny, you can do the same test. However, a penny is much smaller than a quarter, right? If the tread is even with Lincoln’s head, your tires are unsafe for driving.
How Long Tires Last
You can’t avoid replacing your tires. Inevitably, they’ll wear down and put your safety at risk. Most modern tires are designed to withstand about 50,000-60,000 miles of driving.
The average person drives between 10,000 and 15,000 miles every year. At that rate, your tires could last you up to 5 years. However, you shouldn’t always let your tires wear down to the very end.
If you don’t drive a lot, you may not ever put that many miles on your tires over the course of 5 years. After about 6 years, though, you should still consider replacing your tires.
After about 6 years, the rubber on your tires can become dry and brittle. This could lead to an unexpected blowout, which could be a fatal accident.
Determine the Age of Your Tires
You may not exactly remember the last time you put new tires on your car. It could have been years ago, and you’re just starting to notice signs of wear.
You can determine the age of your tires by taking a look at the Department of Transportation code. This is a four-digit code on the tire wall. This will give you an idea about when the manufacturer produced the tire.
The first two digits represent the week of the year the manufacturer made the tire. The latter two numbers represent the year.
For example, you might notice the tire says, “0915”. This indicates the manufacturer produced the tire during the 9th week of 2015.
Sometimes you’ll see a host of other numbers surrounding the four-digit code. This could make identifying the code a bit difficult. Look for the letters “DOT”.
You might see a group of four numbers. Look for a number resembling a year in the past. A four-digit code ending in “67” might not be the number you’re seeking.
How Often Should You Get New Tires?
The answer to this question isn’t always as clear as you might wish. You should inspect your tires frequently for wear and tear. Perform regular visual inspections on the tread and measure tread depth.
There is no pre-determined timeframe after which you should replace your tires. The wear on your tires will depend on a variety of factors. This includes your driving habits, weather, and more.
If you drive your car harder than most people, you might need to replace your tires more often.
When you go out to buy new tires, don’t just buy any tires. You’ll need to make sure the tires will last you a good while.
Look at the tire’s speed rating. Higher speed ratings usually indicate a better grip and handling, but these tires tend to wear out sooner.
Keep in mind each type of tire will have its own strengths and weaknesses. You’ll be able to choose from winter tires and all-season performance tires and more.
Performance tires tend to wear quicker and cost more. They could lead to greater costs over time. You shouldn’t cheap out, though, and downgrade your tires.
If you buy cheaper tires, you could sacrifice braking and handling. You could also sacrifice fuel economy if you choose cheaper tires.
In general, all season tires are best for year-round use and might give you the best tread life. This shouldn’t stop you from buying performance tires or another set of tires.
Before you buy, be aware of safety and speed ratings. Research tire brands online to find the most reliable brands and models.
Keep an Eye on Your Tires
Your car’s tires are essential to the overall safety of your vehicle. Neglecting to replace your tires could lead to dangerous flats or blowouts.
How often should you get new tires? You can check your tread depth with a quarter or penny to make sure your tires are still safe to drive. If your tires are more than 6 years old, you should definitely replace your tires right away.
New tires will give you a smoother, more comfortable ride. Check your tires and stay safe in all weather situations.
To find out more about DIY car maintenance and more, visit our section on car service and repair.