Tires are a critical part of your car’s safety, functionality, and value. Think of them as the foundation of a house: if that essential element goes bad, everything else is compromised, as a result.
Despite their incredible importance, tires can be a little tricky. How do you tell when it’s time to replace them, for example? How much wear is too much wear? What should you look out for while driving?
Here are five can’t-miss signs that your tires need some attention:
5 Signs Your Tires are Worn (or Wearing) Out
Improve your at-home auto maintenance skills by learning to recognize these tell-tale tire warning signs:
Just like milk and eggs, tires have an expiration date. Checking it is one of the best ways to figure out whether yours are nearing the end of their lives. As a general rule, tires last about six years, although certain factors will make them last a longer or shorter period.
With this in mind, check the expiration date by looking for the 16-digit tire ID number on the sidewall. The last four digits of this number tell you how old the tire is by showing the week and last two digits of the year it was made.
For example, a tire that reads “1118” means the tire was made during the 11th week of 2018. If the date on your tire was more than six years ago, it might be time to start shopping for new ones.
2. The Penny Test
To check the tread on your tires, try this trick: hold a penny between the treads. Abe’s head should be facing down, into the tire. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, your tire is worn out. If his head is obscured, your tire has enough tread that it’s still safe and functional.
For those of you who prefer numbers, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends replacing tires when the tread wears down to 2/32 of an inch.
3. Tire Tread Indicators
To ensure safety, most modern tires have indicators embedded in the rubber near the outside of the tire. These indicators emerge when the tire wears to a dangerous level. They also make a noise on the road, which is why noisy tires are a great indication that it’s time to start shopping.
Here’s an example image from US News & World Report:
Take a look at your tires. Are they worn on the inner edge more than the outer edge? This is known as “cupping,” and is what happens when your car is out of alignment, or your tire is improperly inflated.
If the tire wear is inconsistent throughout the tire surface, it’s time to start looking for new tires.
5. Mechanic’s Recommendation
While there are many ways to evaluate your tires, your mechanic is ultimately your best resource. Go to a shop you trust and ask the techs to evaluate your tires. They’ll be able to spot danger signs and help you find the tires that are right for you.
Quality Tire Service at DeBroux Automotive
DeBroux Automotive is your one-stop shop for tire care and service. We offer competitive pricing and the same excellent service customers have come to expect from our team.
If you’re worried about the state of your tires, or just want a recommendation about some new ones, call or visit us today.