How can you tell when its time to change your tires?
Knowing when to change your tires is important, for your safety and your wallet, and there are three things to think about when making that choice: The tread wear, age of your tires, and the level of exposure to the elements the tires have seen. We should examine each one in more detail so that you know exactly what to look for.
The first thing to look for, because it is the most obvious sign of wear, is the tire tread itself. You can test the tread yourself, and it doesn’t even cost you a penny, it just uses one! Take a penny, and place it, with the head facing down, into the grooves of the tread. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, then your tread is too shallow, and the tires are worn and need replacing. If Lincoln’s head is covered right across the tire, it means you have a tread depth of at least 2/32 of an inch, and you are fine, keep an eye on them though.
The reason tread wear is important, is because that patch of rubber is the connection between your vehicle and the road. It affects the driving experience, and worn tread can even lead to faster wear on other components. In addition, especially in snow or rain, worn tread simply cannot grip properly, and that can mean loss of control of the vehicle, where tires with more tread would grip and allow you to keep control. There are also legal tread depth requirements in many states, so you can even avoid tickets by staying on top of tread wear.
You should know how old your tires are, because tires do not last forever. Even if the tread is still fine, the tires could need replacing. Most tire manufacturers recommend changing tires after 10 years, as the materials begin to deteriorate after that.
Finally, think about the environment your tires are exposed to. Excessive heat and the sun’s ultraviolet rays can affect the tire construction, weakening them. So, if you live in a particularly hot area, check for cracking or other signs of problems. For moderate climates, this is not an issue with modern tires.