When You Should Get New Tires

by Jim on December 31, 2022

It can be difficult to tell when your tires need replacement without knowing what things to look out for. The auto industry and most tire manufacturers recommend that drivers replace their tires at least once every six years from their manufacturing date. However, this is not enough to go by, as there are different tire brands, all of which vary in quality. This means that some are likely to reach their limit sooner than others.

It’s considered illegal and unsafe to use tires after their threads become too thin or when their sidewalls get damaged due to extreme temperatures. Driving around with a flat tire can be a major inconvenience. However, blown-out tires or tires that have lost traction capability can be hazardous. Here are some ways to determine if your tires are still up to par or need to be replaced.

7 Warning Signs Of Tire Failure

The reason tires are designed with treads is to enable them to grip the road better and minimize the chances of hydroplaning when driving on wet surfaces. Tires with insufficient tread are likely to get punctured easily and have poor traction. By performing monthly tire pressure and tread inspection, you should be able to tell if your tires are at their end.

1. Wear Bars Are Flushed With Tread

Tread wear bars are small-sized bits of rubber spaced between Tread blocks. If you notice these bars becoming even with your tire’s tread, then you should consider booking a repair service appointment or heading down to a reputable tires shop to replace your tires.

2. Cracked Rubber

Many factors cause tires to wear, including heat, chemicals, and sunlight. When tires, earlier purchased, are continually exposed to such things, they begin to lose air, crack and become flexible. Make sure to take your car for a maintenance service appointment if you notice any sign of wear. You might as well check your vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations before taking it to a local store for repairs.

3. Uneven Or Worn Treads

Several factors can lead to uneven wear and worn rubber in the tread groove of a tire, all of which can shorten its lifespan significantly. Lack of rotation, the sun’s ultraviolet rays, insufficient tire pressure, worn steering and suspension systems, and poor vehicle alignment are all major contributors to this issue. To minimize the chances of wear and extend the lifespan of your tires, ensure to rotate them consistently.

4. Tire Pressure Issues

Tires tend to lose air over time and there’s also the load index to consider. Remember to check your tire pressure monthly and ensure they are properly inflated. Failure to do this will cause your tires to gradually and continually lose air, increasing the likelihood of wear in certain road conditions, like in extreme heat or constant heavy rain. If left unchecked, you will have no choice but to change your tires shortly.

5. Sidewall Bulges

By constantly hitting obstacles, sharp objects, and curbs on the road, your tires will become susceptible to sidewall bulges and structural changes. It can be fatal when these bulges rupture while driving, so ensure to take your car to a repair shop for inspection if you notice changes in your tread pattern.

6. Loss Of Traction

If your car feels like it’s slipping when you drive on wet roads, this is an indication of low tire tread. Since tire treads tend to wear unevenly, you may not quickly realize how thin they’ve gotten until you notice a significant loss in traction and control when driving.

7. Tires Can’t Seem To Maintain Pressure

Sidewall damage, debris getting stuck between the rims of your tires, and many other issues can quicken the loss of air pressure in your tires, which is why your driving style matters a lot. Some of such damages are avoidable with proper care and even repairable. However, others may require a visit to the tire shop.

Tread Depth

Tires are designed with grooves that enable them to grip road surfaces. Typical tires have a 10/32-inch tread depth, which usually wears down as time passes. Once this happens, drivers may experience difficulty steering their vehicles properly. It can also increase braking time significantly and lead to traction loss.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, it’s unsafe to drive with tires with a tread depth of or below 2/32nds. While it may not be obvious that your tire treads are reaching their limit, continuing to use your tires the way they are can be risky when driving long distances.

Ways To Figure Out Tire Tread Depth

Below are the three different methods for figuring out your tires’ tread depth:

1. The Lincoln’s Head Penny Test

This technique lets you determine your tire tread depth by fitting a penny between the grooves and seeing how deep it can go. Start by taking a penny and turning it upside down into the groove of your tire. From the side of the tire, look straight at the depiction of Lincoln’s head. If his entire head remains visible after inserting the penny into the groove of your tire, it means you have to replace it. If a large portion of his head is covered, let’s say up to his eyebrows, then your tires are still in good condition.

2. Tire Tread Wear Indicator

Some specific tires have tread wear indicators fashioned evenly between their grooves. These in-built gauges are usually lower than the tread in newly purchased tires. As time passes, the indicator and tread will appear to be on the same level. When this happens, it means your tires are up for replacement. Tread gauges can be purchased and are quite affordable. With these items, you’ll be able to determine if your tires are still safe to use.

3. Tire Age

No matter how many miles you’ve covered with your tires, their tread grooves will eventually degrade. When tire wear occurs, they become susceptible to failure and can even lead to accidents. Storage, maintenance, and even environmental factors can affect the lifespan of your tires, even if you don’t drive very often.

Although there is no generally applicable criterion for tire replacement, drivers are encouraged not to use the same tires for more than four or six years and to avoid using tires that are over ten years, that is, from the date they were manufactured.


Driving in developed areas under favorable weather can reduce the chances of wear and extend the lifespan of your tires. Although, occasional inspection and maintenance will help protect your tires. However, if you notice any of the aforementioned warning signs, do not hesitate to get them replaced Most tire manufacturers and vehicle manufacturers generally recommend a complete change of tires every 6 to 10 years.

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