Tires are the most often overlooked safety item. Tire inspection should be part regular auto maintenance. Your car’s tires can tell you if there’s a problem as long as you know the what to look for. In addition, since everyone’s safety rests on your tires, you should replace your tires when their time is up.
Tire inspection is even more critical during summer driving months. So. how do you know when it’s time to buy new tires?
Start with an easy one
Inspect your tires regularly. This is auto maintenance anyone can do. It means checking the tire pressure monthly. If you find your tire pressure usually low or have to fill often, you should have a tire professional inspect them. It could be because you have a small puncture that’s causing a slow leak.
Be hands on
Don’t just look at your tires, use your hands and feel for unusual or uneven tread wear. If you catch the problem soon enough, your might be able to save your tires or extend their tread life by fixing the cause of the tread wear like improper tire pressure or your wheel alignment settings being off.
Take a test
To find out if your tires have enough tread left, take a penny and turn it so Abraham Lincoln’s head is pointed away from you and place the penny between the tread blocks. If you do this and you can see all of Lincoln’s head above the tread, it’s time to replace the tire. Please note, you should always replace tires in pairs to balance tire wear. This test is a lot easier than figuring out why your check engine light is on.
Luckily, today’s tires have tread wear indicators. These are the horizontal ridges you see positioned between the blocks of tread. As you drive, the surrounding tread wears down and the ridges become more exposed. These wear indicators are not intended to contact the road, when you can see them clearly, it’s time for new tires. For maximum wet weather safety, don’t drive on tires like this or you risk hydroplaning or compromising your ability to stop in time.
Don’t crack under pressure
A crack in the sidewall might mean you could have a leak, or worse because some cracks are caused by habitual under inflation or are impact-related. If you see a crack like this, it could be a warining you that the tire’s getting ready to fail. If you see several small cracks in the tread or sidewall, they’re probably caused from exposure and age.
Check the date
Tires age just like us, only a lot faster. They degrade over time because UV light exposure or evaporation makes the chemicals and oils in the rubber degrade over time. Degradation makes the rubber lose its flexibility and crack. This is process is called dry rot. Eventually, the rubber will become so brittle it can lead to failure. Tire manufacturers recommend different dates for replacement, usually varying between five and ten years after they are made. If you’re not certain of the age of your tires, your local tire center can determine their age for you.
Look out for swelling
Check the sidewall for blistering or bulges. A tire with this problem is ready to blowout, replace it immediately. When one of inner belts on a tire fails, it creates a weak spot that will lead to a dangerous blowout. It’s just a matter of time.
Your tires probably were damaged because you hit an obstacle in the road like a speed bump, some debris or a pothole. This type of tire damage can take weeks or months to show blisters. Finally, if your tires are improperly inflated, you increase the likelihood of damage from impacts happening.
Watch out for unusual vibrations
Under normal driving conditions, it’s perfectly normal to feel vibrations caused by the imperfections in the road. However, if you suddenly experience new or harsh vibrations, something is up. It could just be more bumps in the road. Otherwise, if the road’s not the cause, you might need to have your tires balanced, wheel alignment checked, or struts inspected. Alternately, it could mean that there’s an internal problem with one of your tires. The best way to tell what kind of problem you have is to take your car to a professional at once to avoid the potential for further damage.
Regular tire maintenance can find little problems before they get worse. Your tires connect you to the road so their condition is critical to you and others. That’s why you should inspect them and buy new tires when it’s time.
If you still have question like “how long do new car tires last”, go to an expert. We’re your Goodyear tire dealer in Sugar Land and we can help. At First Tire & Automotive, we understand driving. If you have questions or concerns about your tires, just give us a call or stop by one of our three convenient Fort Bend County locations today. We’ll be happy to answer questions and give you the expert tire advice you need.
photo credit: Bristol Motor Speedway & Dragway via photopincc