New Tires, did you know that there are 11,000 tire-related vehicle crashes each year in the United States? Tragically, these accidents claim the lives of over 600 people. To avoid being part of that statistic, it’s vital to keep your tires in good order.
Safety isn’t the only reason to worry about your tires. Poorly maintained tires cost you big at the gas pump too. But how can you tell when it’s time to purchase tires for your car?
Read on to learn 7 telltale signs you need new tires.
1. Get Into the Groove
There’s a simple test you can perform on the grooves of your tires to check if you’ve got enough grip left.
Grab a penny and insert it into the grooves in several places with Lincoln’s head facing down. Can you still see the top of his head? In that case, your tires are worn and need to be replaced.
Tires don’t last forever, and worn tires do not grip the road properly. On a wet road, worn tires increase your stopping distance by a whopping 87 feet for a passenger car. That makes you much more likely to have an accident.
It should go without saying that if the cords are showing, you need to replace your tires immediately. This is extremely dangerous. This means that there is no rubber left to grip the road, and they’ve worn through to the fabric beneath.
2. Bulging Tires
Buckling or bulging tires indicate that something has gone wrong with the structure of the tire. It has developed a weak spot, and that spot could blow at any time. This might also take the form of bubbles – pockets of air caught between the layers of rubber.
This is not the time to delay – head straight down to your auto parts warehouse and replace your tire.
3. Driving Difficulties
While driving, you may notice strange noises or shaking/vibrations as you drive. There could be several reasons for this, such as:
- Poor alignment
- Under-inflated tires
- Suspension issues
But it could also be that your tires are no longer in good shape.
If the shaking only happens when your drive at high speed, then the alignment could be the problem. If you catch this early and get it corrected, you may not need to purchase tires.
However, if you’ve had issues with alignment for some time, your tires may have worn unevenly. Sadly, the only solution is to buy tires to replace them as soon as you can.
You may also notice that your car has issues with grip on wet roads. This usually shows up when you maneuver. The car will not be as responsive.
There is also a risk that you’ll start hydroplaning. If you don’t have good grips, your tires can’t move the water away fast enough, so they start skidding over it. You can easily lose control of the vehicle with disastrous consequences.
The solution? You guessed it. Either buy new tires online or head to your local tire shop.
4. Tire Pressure Light Going Crazy
Most modern cars come with a tire pressure monitoring system. A light on the dash will tell you when one of your tires is underinflated.
As soon as the sensor comes on, check your tire pressure. They usually pick up a significant drop of more than 25%. That can be dangerous, so don’t delay checking it out.
If they’re going off all the time, that indicates you’ve got a slow puncture. The tire can’t hold the pressure anymore. It’s time to get that repaired or replaced.
5. Cracks in the Sidewalls
When rubber cracks, it means that it has perished. You’ll most commonly notice this in the sidewalls, but you may also notice it on the treads.
This can happen because of UV rays, certain chemicals it has come in contact with on the road, or simply due to age. Whatever the reason, it’s no longer flexible and therefore not safe. It’s only going in one direction – it’s time to get replacement tires.
6. Warranty has Expired
When you buy tires, they usually come with a limited warranty. This may be a number of years, a certain number of miles, or both. This can help you to gauge when you should expect to replace your tires.
Of course, this assumes that your tires have been well maintained, and your vehicle has been aligned properly. If not, tires may wear out much more quickly. Also, certain climates, especially those with harsh winters, may experience faster tire wear.
If you live in an area with extremes of temperature throughout the year, the best tires are summer and winter tires. Change them when the weather drops below or above 46°F. All-season tires may be OK in more moderate climates but usually struggle with extremes of heat and cold.
If you know that your warranty is almost over, or has expired, give your tires a thorough check to see if it’s time to replace them.
7. Wear Bar is Showing
Many tires now come with tread wear indicators, also called wear bars.
They are spaced throughout the tires’ grooves and indicate how much of the tire has already worn away. When the tire wears down to the level of the wear bar, it’s time to buy some new tires.
Don’t Ignore Signs You Need New Tires!
Tires sure can be expensive, but not replacing them can be deadly.
If you notice any of these signs you need new tires, do not delay. Get a new set straight away and keep yourself and other road users safe.
If you’ve enjoyed this article, we’ve got lots more to help you stay safe on the road. Head over to our Automotive section for more great ideas on how to enjoy your time behind the wheel.