Safe and reliable driving is dependent on serviceable tires that are in good shape. Even the most expensive and highest-quality tires eventually need to be replaced. In this article, United Car Care reviews some warning signs that your vehicle needs new tires.
1. Your Tire Treads Are Failing the Penny Test
Your tires’ most important safety feature while on the road is their tread. Tread provides your car traction while you are driving by channeling water, ice, and snow away from your tires’ gripping surfaces and the road. When tread wears down, your tires lose their ability to grip the road under wet conditions. Check your current tread levels with the tried and true Penny Test. Take a penny and put it in a tread groove with the top of Lincoln’s head pointed down towards the tire. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, your tire tread is worn down to 2/32 of an inch or less, and you are overdue for new tires.
2. Sidewall Cracking
As tires wear and age, damage can become apparent on the tire sidewalls. Inspect the sides of your tires, looking for cuts, cracks, or wrinkles anywhere along the sidewall. Any of these markings are evidence that your tire is either leaking or ready to start leaking anytime. These types of cracking cannot be properly repaired and when these signs become apparent it is time to get new tires.
3. Excessive Vibration
Road vibration is a normal part of driving, and if you are an experienced driver you have a feel for the level of bumping and shaking that is normal. Worn tires or unbalanced wheels cause vibrations that increase and change with speed variations. Speed related vibration and shaking is usually a sign of poor tire wear or suspension issues. In any event, abnormal vibration will cause rapid and uneven tire wear and possible damage. In order to properly evaluate what is going on and whether you need new tires or other repairs, you should have your vehicle checked by a mechanic as soon as possible when vibration becomes a problem.
4. Bulging and Blistering
As tires wear and the outer surfaces weaken over time, bulges and blisters can develop. These bulges occur in weakened areas that are under pressure from the inside of the tire. If you have bulges and blisters appearing anywhere on your tires’ outer surfaces you should have them replaced immediately. These bulges are under significant pressure and can cause an extremely dangerous blowout at highway speed.
5. Irregular Tire Pressure
You should always check your tire pressure at regular intervals. If a tire is not holding regular pressure or is losing more than a pound of air pressure in a month, it is likely that it has developed a leak. Even brand-new tires can suffer roadway damage that can cause leaks. A tire maintenance facility will be able to check your tire to determine if it is leaking and whether it needs repair or replacement.