The quality of your tires is very important. As tires begin to age the tread on them wears down meaning that they are less effective and a lot less safe. Tires aren’t meant to last forever. Once the tread starts to wear on the tire it loses performance ability and tire failure can lead to serious accidents and even death. Don’t ignore the warning signs and take the time to check your tires on a regular basis. Here are a few ways to know that it’s time to replace your tires:
Failed Penny Test
Put a penny upside down in the center of the tread of the tire. As long as you can’t see the top of Lincoln’s head, the tire is still OK to use. If you can see Lincoln’s head, it means that the tread is too worn and the tire should be replaced.
Failed Tire Tread Gauge Test
The penny test has been criticized for not being 100% accurate. If you are looking for more accurate results, purchase a tire tread gauge at an auto store for a few dollars and test that way.
Tread Wear Indicator is Visible
The tread wear indicator is located inside the groove of the tread. It should be located below the groove. If it is even, or almost even, with the tread around it, it means that the tire is no longer safe to use.
Follow Owner’s Manual
Every car is different so use your owner’s manual as a reference. Typically, 6 years is the shelf life of a quality tire. This can vary depending on the driving style of the car owner, but 10 years should be the absolute maximum for using the same tires. The age of a tire starts when it was manufactured, not when it was first used because they can deteriorate even while just sitting in a store.
Use Common Sense
Sometimes just looking at a tire can let you know that there is a problem. Keep an eye out for any deep cracks or bubbles and take a look at the wear. If it’s uneven on the front it could mean that there is an alignment issue. If the tire doesn’t stay properly inflated and loses air quickly or doesn’t maintain correct tire pressure, there is obviously a problem.
If the tread of a tire is down to 1/16 of an inch it’s time to replace the tires. In fact, in some states it’s a legal requirement that tires have proper tread above 1/16 of an inch. Another thing to keep in mind is your environment. Tires can age faster in warmer climates.