Tired Tires: 11 Signs You Need New Tires
11 Signs You Need New Tires
Getting a flat tire is one of the most frustrating things that can happen to a driver.
If it happens late at night when your phone is dead, it’s not just annoying. It’s downright dangerous.
When you get a flat tire, you might pace around asking what you did to deserve it. But, pleading with the universe isn’t going to fix your flat.
If this sounds like your personal nightmare, listen up. By watching out for the warning signs of a failing tire, you can prevent a catastrophe from happening in the first place.
Read on for 11 signs you need new tires.
1. Your Tires Fail the Penny Test
The easiest way to check your tire treads is by using a penny. Take a penny and set it in the tread groove with Lincoln’s head facing down.
If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, your tire failed the penny test. It means you need new tires. Over time the treads wear down, which is why you can see more of Lincoln’s head.
2. The Sidewalls of Your Tires are Cracked
As your tires age, the rubber can dry out and crack. This can lead to a tire blowout, which is very dangerous if you’re driving.
Just like the treads, the sidewalls of your tires wear out over time. Weather and incorrect alignment can wear down the sidewalls. You can also damage the sidewalls by scraping against curbs when you park.
3. You Notice Bulges on the Tires
If you notice any bulges or bubbles on the sidewalls, get your tires checked out immediately. Bulges can lead to a tire blowout.
A bulge in the sidewall means that there’s a weak spot in the tire. It’s very similar to the type of hernias people can get in their abdomens. Since the tire could burst at any moment, don’t wait to get your car serviced.
4. Your Tire Pressure Light Comes On
Most newer vehicles have a TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System) to tell you when your tires are under-inflated. If the light comes on a lot, it can be a sign that your tire is worn out.
When the sensor light comes on, you should double-check your tire pressure by testing it manually. This is a regular part of vehicle maintenance, but it may be a good idea to have your tires checked by a mechanic.
5. Your Car Shakes When You Drive
When your car shakes when you drive at both fast and slow speeds, it’s likely a problem with your tires. The metal belts inside your tires can slip, which is what causes the vibration. The only way to fix this is with new tires.
If your car shakes when you drive at highway speeds, your wheels might just be unbalanced or out of alignment. These problems can be fixed by a mechanic, but you probably won’t need new tires.
6. You Can See the Tread Wear Indicator Bars
A lot of new tire brands have tread wear indicator bars. Wear bars are small rubber squares in the grooves of your tire.
Just like that blue strip on your toothbrush, wear bars tell you when you need to replace your tires. When the wear bars are level with your tread, you need new tires.
On a new set of tires, it will be difficult to see the wear bars because the treads are new. As the treads wear down and get thinner, the bars become easier to see.
When the wear bars are starting to show, the tires will start to make more noise.
7. Your Car Has Poor Traction on Wet Roads
If you have trouble maneuvering your vehicle on wet or snowy roads, it can be a sign you need new tires.
As your tires wear out, the tread grooves become less shallow. The grooves are important because they wick water away from the treads. That’s what gives your vehicle traction.
If the water stays on the treads, it can lead to dangerous hydroplaning.
8. The Cords on Your Tires Are Showing
When the tread is completely worn off, you’ll be able to see cords. Metal or polyester cords support the structure of your tires.
If you can see the cords, it means you have no traction in that area of your tire. Your car isn’t road safe. You need to get your tires replaced immediately.
9. Your Tires are More Than 10 Years Old
Unfortunately, tires don’t last forever. Many tire manufacturers say that their tires last up to 10 years. But, some auto manufacturers recommend replacing tires sooner than that.
If you don’t notice any of the above problems and your tires are over 10 years old, you probably invested in great-quality tires.
But, if you take your car in for servicing, ask the technician to check the tires. They might spot issues you didn’t notice or tell you that your tires look fine. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
10. You Live in a Climate with Extreme Weather
Extreme climates (cold or hot) can wear out your tires faster than mild climates.
In cold temperatures and wintry conditions, rubber can get stiff and brittle, which can cause air leaks. Cold weather can also make your tires lose pressure. Under-inflated tires can make the treads wear out faster.
In hot climates or summer weather, your tires can over inflate. But, your car’s TPMS won’t catch over inflation, so you’ll need to check the pressure manually. Hot roads can also make the rubber break down and cause blowouts.
Any time the temperature changes drastically, you should take a look at your tires.
11. There Are Signs of Uneven Wear on Your Tires
When tires are improperly inflated or out of alignment, it can make them wear out unevenly. Tires with uneven wear can also be a sign that there’s something wrong with your car’s suspension.
Under-inflated tires will wear out faster on the edges, whereas overinflated tires wear out in the center.
Is Your Vehicle Showing Signs You Need New Tires?
It’s easy to take your tires for granted. But, ignoring the signs, you need new tires will only lead to trouble.
If your tires aren’t working like they used to, schedule a service call. Our technicians will get to the root of the problem.