How to Check for Tire Wear

Often we don’t pay any attention to our tires until it’s too late. You may walk outdoors one day and find yourself with a flat tire, or even worse, stranded along the side of the road with a sudden flat.

What’s a person to do?

When you’re trying to figure out if you need new tires or not, there are three indicators you’ll need to be aware of: tread wear, environmental exposure and the age of your tires.

To test the tread yourself, all you need is a penny. Place the penny, head down, into many of the tread grooves along your tires. If you are able to see the top of Pres. Abraham Lincoln’s head, your treads are too worn and your tires should be replaced. If at least part of Lincoln’s head is covered up by the tread, you probably don’t need new tires yet. Most tires have wear bars, or bits of rubber that are woven into the tread pattern at a specific depth. If the tread pattern is worn down beyond the wear bar, it’s time to replace your tires.

When you drive tires with worn tread, your car may not respond appropriately in inclement weather, potentially causing an accident. Good tread allows your car’s tires to grip the road better. Worn treads can also cause other components of your car to wear out early, causing additional hazards.

Safety is the greatest reason to worry about your tread wear. But your tires can also wear down if exposed to heat or other environmental elements. Tire pressure drops in extreme cold, and during the hot summer months, tires can build up excessive heat. If you have an underinflated tire in the summer, it can wear out faster because it is generating more heat.

When a tire appears to be bulging from the side, or has cracks and gouges in the sidewall, this is a sign that the tire pressure is low or you have a slow air leak.

Watch for a vibration or thumping sounds when you’re driving. If these sounds appear to be coming from underneath your car seats, your rear tires could be out of balance. If the vibration is coming from the steering wheel, it could mean you’ve got a suspension problem.

If anything feels out of balance and your ride is no longer a smooth one, it’s time to make an appointment with a quality auto repair shop, like Escondido Auto Tech.

So how frequently should you change your tires? Car manufacturers generally recommend that tires be replaced at least every six years, while tire makers recommend tires are replaced every 10 years. It’s important to check the manufacturer’s recommendation on your specific tire brand.

Experts recommend that when it’s time to replace your tires, replace two or all four at one time. It will provide your tires with a longer life and better performance, and ultimately, will be safer for you in the long run.

If you’re unsure whether you need new tires or if your vehicle needs another repair, contact Escondido Auto Tech at (760)745-4454 to schedule an appointment for a thorough inspection.