Your tires are the only thing between you and a potentially dangerous situation. Tests have shown that traction significantly decreases in rain and snow even when half of the tread is intact. A recent study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that nearly 50 percent of the 11,500 cars, pickup trucks, vans, and sport-utility vehicles the agency checked had at least one tire with half-worn tread.
So, how can you tell if your tires need to be replaced? Here are 5 easy ways to check for yourself:
- The tread on your tires should never fall below 1/16th of an inch. There’s an easy way to check that requires only a penny. Get a penny and put Lincoln head down in between the tread. If Lincolns head is completely visible, you don’t have enough tread. It’s time for a new set.
- Tread wear indicators. Your tires have an indicator bar built in. Check them and see if they are flush with the tire tread, if so, your tread is below 1/16th of and inch it’s time for new tires as soon as possible.
- Cracks in the sidewalls of your tires. Age is a common contributing factor to cracks in the tires. However, regardless of the wear in the tread or the lack of cracks, replacing your tires every six years is recommended (recommendations vary by manufacturer) due to breakdown of the rubber by sunlight, chemicals etc. (This is also why its a bad idea to buy used tires). If you see cracks in your tires, it’s time for a new set as soon as possible.
- Bulging or blistering of the tire. This indicates a weak spot in the tire and should be addressed immediately. There’s a lot of pressure in your tire and a weak spot can easily lead to a blowout. Get this taken care of immediately.
- Vibrations or bumpy when driving. Its normal to feel some vibrations when you drive. But if you start to notice that there is more vibration than normal it could indicate an internal problem in your tires. It could very well be another issue, but even if it’s not, too much vibration usually indicates there’s something wrong.
Your family’s safety is the most important thing to you, taking these simple steps to check your tires could potentially save you from a preventable accident. If you are still unsure, visit your local service department and have them check it for you