We put our cars through a lot on a daily basis; therefore, the integrity of our car tires is extremely important. Over time, tires will need to be replaced. If you put off getting new tires when you need them, you may find yourself with a flat tire at the most inconvenient time or a blowout that can lead to a dangerous situation. So how do you know when its time to get new tires? Here are some things to check for on your tires to help you determine if its time to get your tires checked out.
Measuring Tread Depth
Tread depth is the most popular way to measure and determine when you need new tires. The standard measurement tool is actually something that you have laying around your car – a penny! If you take a penny and put it in one of the grooves on the tire and the entire head of Lincoln is visible, you don’t have enough tread on your tires and should replace them. The key is that the tread on your tires should never fall below 1/16 of an inch in depth. During slick or extreme weather, especially winter weather, you typically want twice that amount.
Cracks in the Sidewall
While checking your tire tread is a good way to determine if you need new tires, there’s also several physical signs to watch for that tread may not tell you. These physical characteristics can mean that your tire may be damaged and isn’t safe to drive on. The first is to check for cracks or other wear like cuts in the sidewall. These cracks are usually signs of a leak in your tire or the precursor to a blowout.
Bulges, Blisters, and Metal Poking Out of the Tire
Alternatively, sometimes the wear that shows is more like bulging or a blister. These are usually signs of a weak spot in the rubber of your tire and just like the cracks can lead to sudden blow outs. Sometimes these weak spots are in less visible parts of your tire under your car.
Too Much Vibration or Sound While Driving
While vibration and sound while driving is totally normal to a certain extent, excessive vibration or noise can mean a misalignment or unbalanced tires. It can also be that the shock absorbers are no longer doing their job. Even if it’s not necessarily the tire itself, heavy vibration on your car can cause excess damage to your tires in the long run. An unusual sound is a great indicator something could be wrong with your tire. If something, such as a metal screw, is in your tire, you’ll hear an unmistakable clink when you drive. The thunk of a flat tire is also often a key sound to listen for as you’re driving. Because all the weight of your car is on the tires, it makes sense that the sounds as you are driving can help you to determine what is abnormal wear and something to check on your tires.