As you drive your vehicle down the road your tires carry a lot of load. They are, in fact, the most crucial part of any vehicle. Tires play an important role in maintaining the direction of travel, essential for braking and traction. Since they have so many functions to perform, it is necessary to take care of tires and maintain them properly. It’s important to know when to replace your vehicle’s tires. With better quality tires, you will be able to have peace of mind when traveling.
But do you really know when to replace your vehicle’s tires? It is not very difficult to find out when the health of your tires starts deteriorating. Many times a simple visual inspection is enough to find signs of damage. You need to look at a number of things before going for a tire replacement. Let us see how long tires should last and how to find out when your vehicle needs new tires.
How Long Do Tires Last?
Tires can last anywhere from 200 miles to more than 50,000 miles but the exact answer is unknown. A driver can take care of tire maintenance to make them last longer. Multiple factors will play a role in determining how long a tire lasts.
Bad Driving Habits
Your vehicle’s tires suffer the most if you have a bad driving style. Sudden braking and acceleration will put a lot of stress on the tires. As you do this repeatedly, the tires wear down quickly. Avoid sudden braking and quick acceleration if you want the tires to last longer.
Road conditions also determine how long your tires last. Driving on roads with potholes, curbs, unpaved roads, and broken pavement significantly affects the tires. The tires get misaligned, which in turn affects the tread as well. If you come across such roads in your daily drive. The tire experts recommend getting tires inspected annually to inspect the tread condition and check the suspension for proper alignment.
You should get your vehicle checked regularly to ensure there is no uneven tread wear, no signs of flat tires, suspension is properly aligned, and the pressure is maintained. The tires will start showing warning signs in case you neglect maintenance. The tires will tend to wear out quicker than normal if you do not properly maintain the tires.
Why Do Tires Wear Out?
Tires have a life span after which they cannot function well and are considered worn out. There are a number of factors that cause the tires to wear out sooner than expected. The most common factors are bad alignment and improper inflation pressure. Let us have a look at each of these factors and how they cause tires to wear out faster than expected.
The most common reason for worn-out tires is bad alignment. Improper alignment does not allow the tires to run straight down the road. This can put you in a dangerous situation. Improper alignment can occur when one of the important steering angles is not set properly.
Improper alignment can cause the tires to wear on the outsides, insides, or even start cupping the tread. It all depends on which angle is out of adjustment. To prevent the tires from wearing out, you need to get the alignment regularly checked.
Improper tire pressure is the most common cause of early tire wear. Wear is easily visible on the outer edges of the tread if the tire pressure is low. However, over-inflated tires cause wear in the middle of the tread.
The overall life expectancy of the tire decreases due to under-inflation and over-inflation. Keep the pressure in check every time you drive your car to prevent this from happening.. Keeping your tires at the right pressure can also increase fuel mileage.
Old tires have proved to be the biggest culprit in many car accidents. As the tire ages, cracks start appearing on its surface. As a result, the steel belts in the tread can separate from the tire. You should replace your tires once they show signs of aging such as cracking. Continental Tires for example suggests replacing all tires after they are 10 years of age. Regardless of condition.
Lack of Rotation
Not properly rotating your tires can also decrease the lifespan of your tires. Unable to do so leads to the wearing of the two of your vehicle’s tires faster than the other two. Which pair of tires wear more quickly depends upon the type of your vehicle.
If it is a rear-wheel drive, the vehicle will be propelled by its rear tires as they will be drive wheels, and thus they will wear out faster. However, if you have a front-wheel-drive vehicle, the rear wheels will be free-rolling wheels, while the front wheels will be drive wheels. Since a lot of weight will be on the front tires, they tend to wear out faster.
As recommended by many tire manufacturers, the best solution to this is to rotate the tires after 5000-7500 miles.
How to Know if My Vehicle’s Tires Need Replacement?
The following section tells some of the easiest ways in which you can check to know when to replace your vehicle’s tires. If you notice any of these signs, you should get a professional tire expert to help you right away.
Worn Out Tread
The rubber on the circumference of a tire, which makes contact with the ground, is referred to as the tread of a tire. With the passage of time, the tread gets worn off and the tire loses grip. The is an important factor in knowing when to replace your vehicle’s tires.
The tread depth of a tire is measured from the lowest groove to the top of the tread. It is measured in 32nds of an inch. New tires will usually start with a tread depth of 11/32″, but if it is 2/32″, your tire is considered worn, and it is unsafe to use. This is a clear indication that your tires need replacement.
Tire tread depth can be measured by using the penny method. Using a penny is a good idea as it is actually a very reliable method. You just need to insert it in the tread such that the head points down into the tread. Then check how much of Lincoln’s head is visible to you. Being able to see all of his head is an indicator that the tread is very low. However, if the top of Lincoln’s head disappears between the ribs, the tire still has some life left.
Tread wear indicator bars are also a very convenient way to check if the tire has worn out.. These indicator bars are hard to locate when the tires are new. But as the tire wears out, the bars become more visible in between the tread blocks. If the wear indicators are even with the tread, this indicates that the tires need replaced
Vibration During Driving
Vibration can be felt in the steering wheel when you drive, if your vehicle tires are worn out. Nevertheless, misalignment or out of balance tires can also cause the car to vibrate. This can be a sign of a worn-out tire, and you should get it immediately checked by a professional. Many times the tires need replacement.
There may be a stone or nail embedded in the tire, which can cause a leak which can cause your tires to be underinflated. This condition should be quickly addressed as it can lead to tire blowout.
Sidewall cracking of a tire can be due to tire age or may be due to harsh climatic conditions. The major culprits are heat, sunlight, and ozone exposure. Whatever the reason is, the rubber in the tires starts degrading, dries out and eventually cracks. Even unused tires that are stored improperly can crack over time. Similarly, you will notice cuts in the tires if it has hit some sharp object.
All these cuts and cracks on tires are unsafe to drive with. You should get the tires replaced as repairing is not an option here.
A worn-out tire is dangerous to drive with. Knowing when to replace your vehicle’s tires can be hard. If you suspect there is something wrong with your tires, you should get them inspected by a tire expert. Remember the easy way to do it yourself is by inserting a penny into the tread or by using a tire tread depth gauge.
Take your car for regular maintenance and regularly check the tread depth and tire pressure to have them last longer. Take your vehicle to an expert if you see the signs of wearing and get the old tires replaced.