Wisconsinites, prepare yourselves now. Soon the temperatures are going to drop, and that inevitable white stuff is going to cover the ground—and the roads. We all know what that means: slippery roads, slow driving, less traction. Basically, all the components of winter driving. Are you ready? More importantly, is your car ready? And your tires?
We all know our tires are the most important part of winter driving, since they are the sole contact point between your car and the road. They are your sole source of traction when the winter weather gets dicey, or one of our unpredictable winter snow storms pop up. Obviously, you don’t want to find out you need new tires when you’re in the middle of a blizzard, but you don’t want to spend money on new tires if you don’t need them. So how do you know when you need new tires? What are some signs that those tires need to be replaced?
- Hardness. Did you know that even if you don’t drive frequently or on long trips, you may still need new tires? Tires don’t always wear down to replacement; they often harden over time, making them a lot harder to drive in winter weather. Any mechanic can tell you if your tires are hard and ready for replacement.
- Doesn’t hold air. If you have to add air to your tires regularly, or your tire sporadically goes flat, an alarm should be going off in your head. Adding air to your tires is not normal, and eventually you’re going to be stranded somewhere with a flat tire.
- Very little tire tread left. Not sure if you have enough tread? Use the old coin trick. Put a penny into the tread of your tire. If you can completely see Abraham Lincoln’s head, you need new tires. Make sure you try this trick in a few different places on the tire. Tires can wear differently, leaving some tires with uneven tread depth.
- Excessive cracking or blistering. If you have cracks or blisters on the sidewall of your tire, you need to get your tires checked as soon as possible. Excessive cracking or blisters are tire injuries that can lead to a blow out, leaving you stranded by the side of the road or at home not able to get to work or school.
- Tread wear indicator bars show. You won’t see tread wear indicator bars when your tire is new. 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. Just as the name implies, tread wear indicator bars are a clear sign you need to get those tires to a repair shop for inspection, and possible replacement.
If you can’t tell if your tires need to be replaced, or you’re looking for new tires, contact Tire-rifik or schedule an appointment. One of our experienced mechanics can tell you if your tires are good enough to make it through another year of winter driving, or if a new set of tires are needed for our wintery Wisconsin roads. They can also discuss your tire options for the winter; for some drivers, a good set of snow tires make sense (find out if snow tires are right for you in our blog post). Make sure you don’t procrastinate; our Wisconsin winter will be here before you know it.