Five Signs You Need New Tires Now
Knowing how to spot when tires should be replaced can save drivers time and money on repairs. It may even save their lives. While tire failure is a leading cause of car crashes, it is largely preventable. With that in mind, here are five signs it’s time for a set of new tires.
1. Advanced Tread Wear
According to automotive experts, old tires become dangerous when their tread depth falls to 2/32? or below. Because their grooves are no longer deep enough to channel water away during wet weather, traction will suffer. Drivers can use the so-called “penny test” to reliably check the depth of their treads. Simply place a penny into the grooves with Lincoln’s head down. If the top of his head is clearly visible, new tires are needed.
2. Cracks, Bulges, or Gouges
While minor punctures in the treads can often be repaired with a patch, the same cannot be said when it comes to the tire’s sidewalls. When these structures start to wear down, they may show signs of shallow cracking. Bubbles or bulges may also appear because of damage to the tire’s inner liner. Gouges, on the other hand, are often caused by hitting a curb at the wrong angle. If the gouge is deep, the risk of a blowout may make replacement imperative.
3. Consistently Low Tire Pressure
Healthy tires lose about one pound per square inch (PSI) of pressure each month. When tires lose significantly more than that for several months, it most likely means they’re on their last legs.
4. Extreme Old Age
Even if they’re still spinning, driving on tires that are over six years old could be dangerous, as they really could suffer a blowout at any time. In fact, a thorough inspection of older tires often reveals serious structural and wear issues.
5. Uneven Tire Wear
Often caused by suspension or wheel alignment issues, uneven tire wear can make driving more dangerous. Although it may not be necessary to replace the full set of tires, since uneven wear often affects one side more than the other, tires that have compromised treads should be switched out immediately.
Drivers should consider these common problems the next time they inspect their tires.