Just like your feet start to hurt after you’ve gone on a long walk, your car tires can take a beating after you’ve driven a while. It’s not always a sign of bad driving; regular driving puts wear and tear on the tires over time. Tires simply get old and worn after long enough. That said, you’ll want to make sure your tires are in good condition to help keep yourself safe on the road.
Regular inspections by a mechanic are a must for keeping yourself informed about the tires’ condition. A professional opinion can give you plenty of assurance, but there are some things you can do to stay on top of the issue yourself. It can be prudent to keep an eye out to catch any problems early. As a car owner, it’s wise to keep an eye on your car’s condition so you can stay prepared for any problems before they develop into something serious. Keep an eye out for these telltale signs to replace your tires.
- Low tread depth – The tread’s job is to provide the vehicle with traction and make it easier for you to grip the road. Tread depth is perhaps the biggest indicator of when the tires are no longer healthy enough to drive on. Always make sure your tread depth stays above 1.6 millimetres in depth (or twice that much if you routinely drive on wet, slick surfaces). One way to calculate tread depth is by using a coin trick. Take a nickel and insert the coin into the tread with Queen Elizabeth’s head facing down. If you can still see the top of the queen’s head, then the tread has degraded and you need to replace those tires.
- Odd vibrations – Some measure of vibration isn’t out of the ordinary, especially on roads with poor paving. However, if you’ve had that car for years, you should notice if the vibrations start feeling strange. Vibrations might have several causes, ranging from unbalanced tires to issues with the shock absorbers. In the case of tires, the vibrations may point to a problem with uneven wear along with the tread. In any case, unexpected vibrations are almost always a sign there’s something wrong. One vehicle maintenance tip: visit a mechanic for a checkup immediately. Even if the tires have nothing to do with the vibrations, the shaking could damage the tire and affect your driving.
- Tread wear – Keep a close eye out for tread wear; tread wear can be caused by a variety of scenarios, including misaligned wheels, damaged suspension, and under- or overinflated tires. In some cases, different parts of the tire can wear out at different rates, leading to some parts of the tire looking fine while other parts are worn down to the cords. In the case of newer tires, there are some shortcuts that can make it easier to identify when the tire has had enough. Look for the tread wear indicator bars. These bars appear as flat rubber bars running perpendicular to the tread’s direction, which makes them easy to spot. When the tires are new, these bars are barely visible; however, as time passes, the tread can get worn enough that one or more bars become visible. When that happens, give your tires a checkup to see about getting them replaced. One great trick you can use to reduce future tread wear is to routinely check the air pressure to ensure even pressure across the entire tire surface.
- Bulges and blisters – When the outer surface of a tire weakens, it’s possible for the tire to develop blisters on the sides or threads. The bulges extend outward from the tire’s surface, which can be a weak spot that can present a future safety hazard. Take any air bubbles in your car tires as a sign to replace them with new tires.
- Cracks on the sidewall – Not all cracks are found in the tire’s tread; sometimes, the cracks can appear in the sidewall as well. Pay close attention to your tires to help you locate the cracks. Cracks are a sure sign that the rubber has degraded enough that the tire can’t be trusted. Sidewall cracks are usually easy enough to locate; look for visible tracks and cuts. Large cracks are generally a sign you need new tires.
- Poor pressure – Tire pressure is known to change as the temperature changes; for example, air pressure drops in winter and rises in summer. However, if you’re finding yourself topping off your tires frequently, you may be experiencing a slow leak. These leaks are often small and hard to find, making it difficult to notice that you have a problem at first. Visit a mechanic to see if you can locate the leak and patch it. Sometimes leaks can be patched, usually, if they’re found in the tread; however, leaks in the sidewall mandate replacing the tire entirely. Make checking your air pressure properly a habit to help stay on top of your tires’ needs.
- Old age – When was the last time you changed the tires at all? If you’ve owned your car for a while, it might be time for a fresh set of tires, even if the current ones still look serviceable. On average, most tire manufacturers advise getting a fresh set of tires every ten years to ensure you have tires in good condition. Check on your tires regularly to ensure that they’re still serviceable as time passes. Staying up to date on your tires’ health gets much easier if you keep tabs on them and ensure you replace them when they begin to show signs of cracking.
- Regular winter snows – Despite the name “all-season” tires, it’s generally a good idea to switch to winter tires when the weather changes. Real winter tires are specifically designed for driving on icy, snowy roads, allowing them to grip the roads more securely and let you drive more safely. Make the switch to the right tires for your needs when the weather changes for easier driving on those slick winter roads.
Some drivers may not be aware of the importance of their tires, but they do play an integral role in car safety and performance. Keeping your tires in good condition is a great way to make driving that much safer, especially in winter. Maintaining good tire pressure and health are also great ways to improve handling and braking, making driving more convenient (not to mention safer in case of sudden swerves and stops). Always keep close tabs on your tires to make sure you’re driving safely at all times.
When you need quality tires at competitive prices, give Round & Around Tire Inc. a look. We offer all the major brands at a discount, and provide installation and balancing services to give you the ride quality our clients deserve. Call us now at (905) 393-8474 or visit our contact page to choose your new tires.