The tires are one of the most important parts of your vehicle and should be maintained properly. Most drivers don’t know how often you should change your tires. It is one of the most neglected items in your vehicle maintenance.
Here you can find out when you should get new tires.
How Often Should You Change Your Tires?
It has been said by the National Transportation Safety Board that each year about 33,000 tire-related accidents occurs. Needless to say, you need to make sure your tires are safe for the road.
Your Tire’s Tread Tells a Story
The tread on your car’s tires is what gives it grip and keeps it on the road. If the tread gets too low then you increase the chance of losing control of your vehicle.
Tire tread depth is measured in either 32nds of an inch or millimeters depending on the area. The tread depth to replace tires is 2/32nds of an inch as they are legally unsafe for the road. When your tires have reached 4/32nds of tread left you should consider getting a new set.
So how do you measure your tread depth?
It’s pretty simple actually. You can either use a tire tread depth gauge or a penny.
CHECKING YOUR TIRE TREAD WITH A PENNY
CHECKING YOUR TIRE TREAD WITH A TREAD DEPTH GAUGE
Inspect the Sidewall of Your Tires for Damage
If there is any damage such as rips or cracking on the sidewall then it is time to replace the tire. This type of damage is not repairable and can cause tire failure. Cracks on tire sidewalls are usually due to the age of the tire.
The NHTSA recommends you replace your tires that are 6 years or older even if the tread is still good.
Rotate Your Tires Often to Prolong Their Life
Rotating your tires helps keep the tread wear even across all the tires. The tires on the driving wheels will wear faster as they are getting power from the engine.
You can check your owners manual for the recommended tire rotation interval. I like to rotate mine when there is 2/32nds difference between the tire treads.
Now if you have a sports car where the front and rear tires are different sizes, you can’t rotate them.
Wheel Alignment and Balancing are Important
Having your tires properly aligned will prevent uneven tire wear. It will also prevent your car from veering to the left or right when driving on a straight road. If you notice the tread of your tires wearing unevenly it might mean they are out of alignment. I would have it checked by a mechanic.
Tire balancing happens when new tires are put on the vehicle. If they are out of balance then the car may shake or vibrate.
Small weights are attached to the rims to balance the wheels on a wheel balancer.
How Many Miles to Replace Tires?
This is a tough question to answer as there are many factors involved including:
- Quality of the tire
- The treadwear rating
- The type of tires
- Vehicle type
- How the vehicle is driven
- Tire inflation
Tire Quality Matters
If your car has tires of a high quality then they should last longer than the cheapest set you can find. This does not mean you have to spend a fortune on tires, just find a set of highly rated ones. Also, the tires which come with new vehicles just suck compared to other brands.
Vehicle Type Can Play a Role in Tire Life
Keep Your Tires Properly Inflated
Now that you know the basics of tire care you can be more aware of tire safety. Let me know if you have any questions or would like to add anything to the discussion.