Deciding when to replace your tires is confusing for many vehicle owners. You want to get the most out of your current tires. But you know that if you drive on them too long, you can end up with a flat or blowout.
There are signs that indicate the right time for tire service. The pros at goodtirecalgary.ca help us understand this timing, below.
When should tires be replaced?
There are two key factors to consider when replacing your tires. These factors are wear and age.
Every tire starts to show signs of wear with use. But how this wear occurs can inform a service professional or even the driver of a problem with the vehicle’s wheel alignment or tire pressure. Ideal treadwear should appear even across the tire’s width, not on just the inside of the wheel or its outside. While you cannot stop signs of wear outright, you can enable your tires to last longer by taking good care of them.
Rubber and other components of tires break down over time, like any other natural or manmade resource. Ageing takes place because of time, environmental effects and how they are stored. How much the tire is used, or not, also affects this ageing.
Tire age can be an indicator of when to change your tires for new ones. Every make and model has key information on it that indicates the manufacturer, product identification, size and week it was made. According to industry standards, you should change your car, truck or SUV passenger vehicle tires every six to 10 years, at least. However, most experts agree that six years should be the limit for the average passenger vehicle. Of course, the timing for your specific tires comes down to their condition. A tire shop can examine the wheels and advise when to change the tires.
Why do I need to change my tire every six to 10 years?
Changing your tires is not just about keeping the tires in good shape. In fact, continuing to use worn-out or old ones can put you at risk. These risks include:
- Poor road grip because of worn tread
- Accidents caused by blowouts
- Ineffective stopping or braking
Besides needing to change your tires according to their wear, you also need to ensure your wheels stay balanced and aligned. Wheel alignment and balancing is a routine maintenance service provided at almost any tire retailer or auto shop.
What damages your tires?
There are many ways your tires can suffer premature wear or other damage before they age to the manufacturer’s recommend timeframe or mileage. Such damage often necessitates tire replacement.
These damaging factors include:
- Poor tire maintenance, such as not maintaining proper air pressure, tire rotations or alignment
- Improper tire type according to the terrain or season
- Driving over potholes, curbs, foreign objects, obstacles or speed bumps
- Keeping or using your car in extreme climate conditions
- Excessively braking or accelerating
- Lengthy periods of driving at high speeds
Signs Indicating You Need to Replace Your Tires
It is always best to seek your auto care professional’s advice for when to replace your tires. But there are signs that you can watch for yourself. These signs indicate you have worn tires and should replace them soon:
- Treadwear when the tread is worn down to 2/32″
- Worn tread depth as indicated by a tread depth gauge
- Bubbles or bulges on your tire indicating internal damage
- Vibration in the steering wheel when driving, often caused by uneven tire wear
- Sidewall cuts or cracks showing the rubber is degrading or something sharp has cut into it
- Embedded stones or nails lodged in the tire, weakening its structure
- Abnormal wear patterns indicating problems with alignment, improper inflation or need for rotation
- Damaged valve cap, potentially allowing air to leak or dirt and moisture to get into the tire
Most manufacturers and industry experts agree that you should replace your tires every six years at most. Some makes and models assert the tire can age to 10 years before changing. But it is very important to pay close attention to quality and condition if you near or exceed this six-year mark. Ten years is listed as the maximum tire age from the time of manufacturing, not from the time they are installed on your vehicle. Of course, all tire manufacturers also provide a mile expectation for their products and your use should not exceed that recommendation.
You can find your tire’s age on its sidewall, regardless of which country you live in. Most governments regulate tire coding and require a four-digit number to indicate the manufacturing date. The first two digits are the week number and the last two represent the year. For example, 26/21 means your tire was manufactured in the 26th week of 2021. This is the date you should use when determining your tire’s six-year birthday.
If you exceed the six-year mark for your tire’s age, take your vehicle to an experienced auto shop for tire service. Have them check the quality and condition of your wheels. Also, request rotation, alignment and balancing service, although these are necessary maintenance services throughout the lifetime of your vehicle.
When replacing your tires, look for brand names you can trust. Avoid buying your tires from unknown manufacturers or retailers. Brand trust and quality are very important when it comes to keeping you and your loved ones safe on the road. Also, pay attention to each tire’s mileage and life expectancy to enjoy longer wear before the next replacement. Finally, ask the seller about each tire’s warranty. Warranties on craftsmanship and materials can cover tire replacement costs if you experience problems with defects.