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When Should I Get New Tires?

When Should I Get New Tires?

Not only can the tires on your vehicle affect your gas mileage, they have a direct impact on your safety too. One of the most important things you should know is when to change your tires.  Here’s a simple test that will help.

Go check the tires on your vehicle. How do they look? Worn? One quick method uses only a penny:


Insert a penny head-first between tread.  Can you still see the president’s head?  If it’s mostly hidden, your tread should be good.  But if you can see Lincoln’s whole cranium then it’s definitely time for new tires!


In most states tires are legally worn out when they have worn down to 2/23” of tread depth. Worn down tread, flat spots, cracked rubber, and constant flats are signs a tire needs to be replaced.

If you notice small cracks along the sidewall of the tires running all the way to the tread, you may be experiencing a common phenomenon that occurs in tires - tire dry rot. This isn’t just a cosmetic concern, but a safety concern as well. Inactivity, low tire pressure and excessive heat are the primary culprits that can cause a vehicle tire dry rot. Using alcohol and petroleum based cleaners can also cause a tire to dry rot more quickly.

Are your tires old? Rubber and plastic materials naturally degrade over a period of five to six years depending on the climate, temperature and humidity, the use and storage of the vehicle, and the air pressure levels of the tires. Under Federal law, tire manufactures are required to brand the date (DOT) onto the side walls of all tires. Be sure to check this if you’re unsure how old you current tires are. The older a tire gets, the higher the risk of sudden and unexpected tread separation.

Your safety comes first – always!


-Michael Riggi