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The tires on your car aren’t meant to last forever.

They wear out over time, and not replacing them is pretty much an accident waiting to happen. If you aren’t familiar with car parts, it can be confusing to know when to get new tires. Luckily, there are some clear warning signs to look out for.

This guide explains 7 signs you need new tires. 

Let’s get started. 

1. Tread Depth

Even the most unaware car owner should learn about tire tread depth. This is responsible for how much traction you have against the road when accelerating or breaking. 

The tread wears down evenly over the course of driving. You can identify the tread by noticing the raised section of rubber that is sanctioned by narrow trenches. You don’t want the tread depth to measure less than 1/16 inch.

Once it gets under that level, there isn’t enough traction power on the tire. This can lead to unstable braking and skidding. 

If you aren’t sure how to measure tread depth, all you need is a penny. Place the penny between the tread of your tires, heads up. Now you’ll want to check the area between the top of Abraham Lincoln’s head and the edge of the penny.

It should measure about 1/16th of an inch. If the tread covers any of Abe’s head, you have enough tread. If you see Abe’s entire head, it’s time for new tires.

2. Car is Shaking

Several problems can cause car vibration and shaking. It could be broken shock absorbers or a poorly paved road.

You’ll know when your car is shaking more than usual, especially when you’re driving at high speed or on a new road. Try to pull over as soon as it’s safe and look at the vehicle’s tires. 

The culprit could be a missing valve cap, misalignment, or even loose lug nuts. Even if your tires look fine, it’s best to take the car to get inspected. That type of shaking is sure to damage the tires if it isn’t fixed.

3. Uneven Wear Patterns

If you’ve ever seen tires out of alignment, you can tell it has uneven wear patterns. This is a common condition for tires that may also result from driving with under-inflated or over-inflated tires.

Look at your tires, are they unevenly worn down to the wear bars, or does the tread reach 2/32″? This indicates that it’s time for your tires to be replaced, and you don’t want to wait too long to change them! Uneven wear patterns can reduce steering control and increase the chance of a sudden blowout.

You can prevent this issue from happening by having your tires rotated and checked whenever you get an oil change.

4. You’ve Been Driving With a Spare

A flat tire can happen to the best of us. That’s why most cars come with a spare tire.

This shouldn’t be a long-term replacement. You have about 70 drivable miles to get to a service center after putting on the donut tire. 

Otherwise, you’re risking causing mechanical damages to your car. Driving with a spare tire for too long puts a lot of strain on your vehicle’s differential. This leads to uneven tire treads. 

After you change your flat tire and head to a service center, don’t drive above 50mph using a donut spare. They are meant for short distances and don’t have the same durability as a regular tire.

If you’re hoping to prevent as much damage as possible and are looking for the best of the best, then you’ll want to check out these tires.

5. Sidewall Damage

You may not be aware of this, but your tire’s sides are more prone to damage because of the soft material. Fortunately, this type of damage is more obvious to the naked eye, so you don’t need to be an expert to tell something is wrong. 

Look for deep cracks on the side of the tire. These can develop into a leak or a blowout. Don’t stress over tiny scratches; they’re normal. 

When the surface of your sidewalls weakens, it can bubble or bulge. Age and exposure to heat can cause blisters or pinch shocks to form on your tire. This is a big warning sign.

It signals that it is unsafe to drive the car.

Don’t assume that a puncture is easy to repair. If a screw, nail, or piece of debris gets lodged in your tire’s sidewall, then you’ll need to get the entire tire replaced. 

6. Age

How long have you had your car? Have you ever replaced your tires? It’s a good idea to replace your tires per the manufacturer’s recommended milestone.

Yes, even if you aren’t experiencing any problems. The replacement intervals vary, but you should expect to change them out between 5 and 10 years after the initial installation. You can check the date on the sidewall to see how old your tires are.

7. There Is Metal in the Tread

Another sign that it’s time for new car tires: wires in your tire’s tread. Exposed wires indicate that the tire has worn down to the casing. When tread wear gets to this point, you can almost guarantee air pressure loss and blowouts. 

Top Signs You Need New Tires

Having a car is convenient and oftentimes necessary, but it also requires more maintenance than you think. Part of that maintenance is replacing your tires when the time is right. There are plenty of signs you need new tires.

It’s just about knowing how to identify them.

Ignoring any problems with your tires will almost guarantee an accident. For the sake of you and your loved one’s safety, always get your car inspected if you notice any of these signs. 

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