The lifespan of any product is only so long. Your car’s tires are the same, when do you really know to change them out? When you can see Lincoln’s head or someone tells you too? Here is what you really need to be looking for.
When your tires are ready to be changed out, you may start to notice your traction decreasing or it might be that you start to get flat tires. Also, you may notice in certain circumstances like snow or rain, that the car has a harder time accelerating. These are just some of the common factors related to tires wearing down.
Why is Tread Important?
The first thing to know about tires is that the primary function of the tread is to divert water. This diversion helps your vehicle maintain traction when it is wet out. It also stops you from hydroplaning (losing control) on wet roads. The number you are looking for is 1/16th of an inch (1.6 mm) of tread is left on the tire. When you reach this point, it is time to change them.
Tread Wear Bars
Also, besides worn down treads, you could have tires with “tread wear bars.” These are tire changing guides built onto the tire. If you look at your tire and you see “bridges” that connect rows of tread lines together, you have found the tread wear bars. The idea is that when these bars are level with the tread lines, your tires need to be changed.
The Penny Trick
The age-old penny trick still works. The truck is to insert a penny along your tread line with Abe Lincoln’s head facing you and sticking up. If you can see the very top of Lincoln’s head, your tires are really bald and need to be replaced. If you can see Lincoln’s hair, it is time to go shopping. If you can’t see the hair on the head at all, you are fine.
Tread Depth Gauge
Looking for a more exact measurement then those above? Go ahead and purchase a tread depth indicator. This device will measure the tread. Armed with an exact number, you can research your tire to determine when you need to change your tire.
After determining that you need new tires, make sure you look at the wear pattern on the old tires. If one side is more worn than others or you have unusual wear on part of the tire, you could be in need of an alignment or other car maintenance. Don’t get caught putting new tires on a vehicle that needs servicing. You will quickly destroy the quality of the new tires.
Determining whether or not you need new tires isn’t all that difficult. Just use one of the steps above and you will be more informed.