Tire Buying Guides

New tires: Why they're necessary & when to buy them

Last updated 9/01/2022 - Originally published 9/23/2020
Written by SimpleTire

When you use your car on a daily basis, good tires are absolutely essential for the highest level of safety possible. To many, tires are just something that's necessary to pass an automotive inspection and get from point A to point B. To others, tires are key to optimal vehicle performance as well as making their vehicles look good. When it comes to vehicle performance, a set of four new tires can quickly shift a driver's perspective from seeing tires as unimportant. New tires are a quick reminder of what the automotive design team had in mind when they manufactured your vehicle. The right tires can make a vehicle perform as intended.

Investing in New Tires

Investing in new tires can change nearly everything about your vehicle. New tires can enhance its performance, ride, comfort, looks, and especially vehicle safety. Considering all the options available in terms of tire size, type, and desired performance, there is a huge number of tires available on the market today from a large number of manufacturers.

When Are New Tires Necessary?

There is no absolute way to determine the life of a tire. Many tires come with limited warranty coverage of up to a certain mileage. Tire wear will depend greatly on driving habits, the function of the vehicle, maintenance, and the road surfaces on which they roll. A quality set of tires should last several years if they're properly maintained.

Realizing when you need new tires may be a little tricky for some. That's why so many consumers ask so many different questions about tire quality including tread depth, tire wear, tire damage, and mismatching tires on an everyday vehicle. They're curious to know if they absolutely need to replace their tires. There's a simple answer to all of these kinds of questions; a new set of quality tires will alleviate the stress of worrying about the safety and performance of the tires you have right now.

However, if you want a better, more personalized answer, consult your local auto dealership. Auto technicians at dealerships are continually working with tire manufacturers to understand their tire technology, and because they're automaker-certified for work on your make and model, they have the expertise to advise you as to whether or not new tires are necessary.

New Tires Needed Based on Tread

As you use your tires, the tread wears down. When the tread depth reaches 2/32", it's highly recommended that you change your tires. Driving on tires with smaller tread is definitely unsafe, and may even be illegal in your city or state. To determine the depth of the tread on your tires, there are a few different tests. You can perform a quick and accurate test with a tread depth gauge. However, if you don't have a tread depth gauge, use the following coin tests to estimate the amount of tread left on your tires.

The Penny Test

Place a penny between the tread grooves with the top of Lincoln's head nearest to the tire. If you can see any space above the top of the head, it's time to replace your tires. Take your vehicle to the dealership for a complete safety inspection.

The Quarter Test

Place a quarter between the tread grooves with the top of Washington's head nearest to the tire. If you can see any space above the top of the head, less than half your tread remains. Some service professionals recommend replacing your tires at this time, particularly if you plan on driving in inclement weather or on a long road trip.

New Tires Needed Based on Wear

A common occurrence in many cars is uneven tire wear. Uneven tread wear can result from a number of issues with a vehicle, including wheels out of alignment or balance, or it could be caused by driving on the tires when they're overinflated or underinflated. Once tires become worn unevenly, there's no way to fix them. The only solution is buying new tires. Head to your local auto dealership for an inspection if you notice uneven tread wear on your tires.

The Benefits of New Tires

As briefly mentioned, the biggest advantage of buying new tires in the added safety you'll get from them. They can help provide optimal traction, handling, and performance capability on a variety of paved and unpaved surfaces as well as in inclement weather such as rain or snow. New tires can also decrease braking time and stopping distance. In addition to vehicle safety, new tires can also offer optimal performance tuned to a specific vehicle because tire manufacturers often work directly with automakers to develop tires for that make and model. Consult your local tire dealer when it's time to replace your tires.

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