“How many miles should I get out of a set of tires? How long do my tires last?” These are common questions we hear from our customers about tires on their car or truck. Unfortunately, as with many car questions, there is no definite amount of miles or years that signal it’s time for a new set of tires. The life of a set of tires depends on many factors (i.e. heat, miles, etc.), but there some clear signs that it’s time to invest in a new set of tires for your car or truck.
Worn tires are a safety hazard; tires with minimal tread do not direct water from wet roads well, making driving in wet conditions treacherous. Fortunately, it’s easy to check for worn tires with minimal tread. Take a penny and place it into the tread of the tire, then check to see how much of Abraham Lincoln’s head you can see above the tread. If you can completely see Lincoln’s head, you need new tires.
Place the penny in many places around the tire. Tires can wear unevenly, leaving you with low tread and an unsafe tire. If you notice extremely uneven wear, schedule an appointment with your mechanic. Uneven tire wear can be a sign of a problem, such as a worn suspension part, alignment issue, or improper tire pressure.
Cracking or blistering
Over time, tires can crack and blister from heat and age; some cracking and blistering is normal. However, if you have excessive cracking or blistering on the sidewall of the tire, contact a mechanic to see if you need new tires. Excessive cracking or blisters can lead to an unexpected blow out, leaving you stranded.
Tread wear indicator bars
Because low tire tread is a safety issue, tire manufacturers have added tread wear indicator bars to visibly signal when a car has a bald tire (when there 2/32 inch of tread left). As the tread of your tire starts to wear down, you will notice bars in the bottom of the groove in several locations around your tire. Don’t wait until the tire has worn down to the tread wear indicator bars; bald tires are unsafe. Instead, ask your mechanic to check your tires when you can start to see the tread wear indicator bars so you can start shopping for new tires and planning for replacement.
Even if you don’t put on 10 or 20,000 miles a year, your tires can harden over time, making them a lot harder to drive in slick weather. Tire with hardness issues can cause your car to have trouble finding traction. To catch any issues caused by age or hardness, ask your mechanic to check your tires when they reach the five-year mark. Most manufacturers recommend replacing tires (even with low miles) at about the 10-year mark.
Tire should hold maintain proper air pressure without needing frequent stops to add air. If you have to add air to your tires regularly, or your tire sporadically goes flat, visit your mechanic for a tire inspection. Your tires may have a puncture that can be fixed, may not have a solid seal with the rims, or may have a bigger injury that could be leaking air.