How to know it's time to change your tires


When Should I Replace My Tires?

This is a question that crosses many consumers’ minds when purchasing tires. Many factors play a part in when tires should be replaced.  The main aspects that should go into such a change are as follows:

DATE OF TIRES:  The average lifespan of a tire that would be still be deemed safe and road appropriate is 5 years from the date of installation. This means from the moment they are mounted and balanced, based on the tires mileage expectancy, you should look into replacing your tires within 5 years, as based on highway safety results and the average consistency of the daily driver.  This marks a point in time in which your tires will start to show signs of wear and tear and overall heavy usage that can start to result in a thinner, more worn down compound, resulting in the tire becoming more susceptible to road hazards such as potholes, blow outs and easier punctures.

SEASONAL DESIGN:  This is a more common occurrence if you purchased tired for a specific time of year such as winter tires during the winter months. These tires will not hold up once the weather becomes warmer and you return to your normal driving habits. Due to the way they are structured they will only perform at their best, during the season in which they were designed for.

DAMAGED TIRE:  We’ve all been there, driving to get to somewhere important and out of nowhere something punctures our tire, and now we are stuck with a spare on one and the other 3 in perfect shape. Most consumers replace only the damaged tire, but is that the best option? The following scenario will explain why it’s sometimes better to replace more than the damaged tire, to make sure you do not run into any issues down the road.

 

Scenario:

John buys 4 brand new Pirelli tires to put on his car. After driving on them for 6 months, his rear passenger tire blows due to a object in the road, on his way to work. John removes the tire and places the spare on, until he is able to purchase a brand new tire later on in the day. Now if John is replacing a single tire, the other 3 tires have been driven on for the same amount of time that the now destroyed tire was driven on. If he replaces it with a brand new tire, the tire on the opposite side will be at a different tread depth than the brand new one, due to the six months of wear and tear.

You might be asking yourself “why does this matter?”  When a tire is replaced and the tire on the opposite side of the car is not replaced as well, many tires will wear down even faster, because the tread is uneven and will throw the balance of the car off. Making it work harder on one side than the other. Johns brand new tire will wear down twice as fast, because the balance is thrown off by different tread and wear pattern that the original set have experienced during the six months. When replacing a destroyed tire, it’s best to replace the damaged one, and then the matching tire on the other side. Once this is done, you can rotate the tires from the back to the front (depending on if your car is RWD or FWD).

 

TREAD DEPTH:  Our driving habits play a large part in the wear and tear that your tire may experience. Whether you are heavy on the pedal or heavy on the break, these inconsistencies will cause a greater strain on your tire, making it wear down faster than usual. The best way to check the tread depth on your tire is to place a penny in the tread and if it covers Abraham Lincoln's head, you are clear to continue driving. If his head is covered, you may want to start looking for a new set of tires, especially if you are planning a long trip coming up.

It’s another factor when choosing to replace tires, factoring in the amount of miles that you will be driving and the current condition of the tire. Maybe you have a cross-country trip planned with the family and already went through the usual mechanical checks on your vehicle, to make sure it can handle the distance. Tires is another one to add to list, to make sure you will not have any unforeseen issues due to worn down tires, creating additional time that you may not have factored in when planning your family vacation.

- Mike Kuper