The average driver puts more than 1,000 miles on their cars every month. And it should come as no surprise! We use our cars for everything from commuting to pleasure cruising.
But all that driving means your car sees some serious wear and tear. And the longer it’s on the road, the more maintenance you’ll need to take care of.
Sure, you know that the oil needs to get changed every 5,000 miles and you’ll need to rotate your tires regularly. But do you know when to replace your tires?
Tires last for a long time, but there are a few tell-tale signs that it’s time to give your car a new set of wheels. Here’s what you need to know.
The Tire’s Bulging When You’re Parked
When your tires are in good condition, they hold their shape when you park your car. But when they’re compromised or wearing down, it’s common to see a slight bulge at the base of the tire.
This happens when the layers and cords inside the tire start to break down. The air pressure in the tire spreads through those damaged layers and causes the bulge.
Bulges may look harmless, but they often lead to blowouts and flats when you’re on the road. Unfortunately, there’s no way to repair the damage. And the sooner you install new tires, the safer you’ll be behind the wheel.
Your Steering Wheel Shakes
Vibration is a normal part of driving. It’s how you feel what your car’s doing and get a sense of the condition of the road. But when the vibration gets excessive for what appears to be no reason, you have a problem.
Most often, the shaking is due to bad wheel alignment. But in some cases, it’s because the tire itself is starting to fail. And you might not even see any wear and tear on the outside of the tire.
If you notice that the steering wheel shakes when you’re driving on smooth pavement, get the tires inspected or diagnose the problem yourself.
There Are Cracks in the Sidewall
Rubber is durable, but it’s not infallible. And the older the tires get, the more likely they are to develop damage.
Think of it this way: your tires get exposed to intense heat and sunlight every day. It happens while you’re driving and when you’re parked. And that heat and sunlight can cause the rubber to dry out and crack.
Most often, these cracks appear along the sidewalls of the tire. Check the walls of your tires for cracking and peeling. If you see any, get them replaced.
The Tread is Visibly and Unevenly Worn
Treadwear is normal and the longer the tires are in use, the more you’ll start to see the wear along the surface. When the tires are in good shape, tread wear should be even across all four tires.
But if the tires have underlying issues, you’ll start to see uneven wear on at least one tire.
In addition to replacing that tire, you’ll need to get your alignment checked. The uneven wear is likely due to poor alignment. If it’s not fixed, your new tires will wear unevenly, too.
You’ve Had More Flats Than You Can Count
Flats happen. In most cases, it’s simple to repair without replacing the tire. All it takes is a patch and you’re back on the road in no time.
But what happens when you keep getting unexpected flat tires even after having the initial damage patched? Well, there’s probably an underlying problem with the tire itself. And that means it’s time to consider an upgrade.
Otherwise, those flats will continue to happen and you’ll need to have a tow truck company on speed dial. With the average tow fee coming to about $50, replacing that damaged tire may end up being the cheaper option.
The Tires Aren’t Holding Air
It’s normal for tires to lose air pressure, especially as the weather changes. But that doesn’t mean you should have to top off the pressure every week. If you have to, it’s time to think about getting new tires.
As tires age, they start to develop cracks across the surface. Air can escape through those cracks, causing the slow leak.
If you’ve had the tires on your car for more than five years, the leak is likely caused by the tire itself. The best solution is to replace it with a new undamaged tire.
They’re More Than 10 Years Old
Tires have an expiration date. Remember, rubber breaks down and loses its structural integrity after years of use and exposure to the elements.
And once they reach a certain age, the tire can’t handle the same amounts of strain that it used to. This puts you at risk for flats, blowouts, and accidents on the road.
If you’ve had the same tires on your car for more than 10 years, get them replaced as soon as possible. Even if you’ve been diligent about tire rotations, kept them covered when parked, and otherwise maintained them perfectly, they still need to get replaced.
Keep in mind that the 10-year mark is when you absolutely need to replace your tires. But that doesn’t mean you should strive to keep the same tires on your car for 10 years. Instead, pay attention to the miles you put on your tires and the amount of tread left.
The last thing any driver wants is to have bald tires with little to no traction left.
Knowing When to Replace Your Tires is Important
Knowing how to tell when to replace your tires is one of the best things you can do for your car. When the tires are in good shape, the car handles better, stays safer, and gives you the best gas mileage possible.
But it’s only one part of your holistic maintenance schedule drivers need to stick to. Let us help you find a reliable car service center to help you stay on the road for years to come.