The average tire has a tread life of 60,000 miles. A good set of all-wheel tires might have a little more, which means they should last from four to six years. However, the state of the roads, your personal driving style, and the condition of your car all play a part in how frequently you need to change your tires.
Take a Good Look at Your Tires
Ideally, you should inspect your tires once a month. This means doing a proper rotation, so you can see the inside walls of the tires too. You’ll quickly notice if the tread is wearing down and if your tires have bald spots. It’s time to change the tires when the tread is 1/16 of an inch.
Some things to consider about the tread:
- The tread is what allows your tires to have an adequate grip on the road.
- When you need to accelerate or decelerate quickly, your tread determines how effectively you can do this. If the tread is too low, the wheels will spin.
- Proper traction ensures that less fuel is used to get the car from point A to point B, which means that having sufficient tread saves you money.
There are several ways to check the tread of your tires:
Tread Wear Indicator
Tires are manufactured with a tread wear indicator that indicates the 1/16 of an inch level. Once the tread drops below this level, the tread is too low.
Both pennies and quarters can be used to check tire tread. With a penny, you need to turn it upside down, so Lincoln’s head faces down and rests in the groove of the tire. If his entire head is exposed, the tire tread has dropped below the 1/16 of an inch mark.
A quarter works much the same way in that you turn the coin so that Washington’s head is upside down. Place it in the groove of the tire, and if the groove touches Washington’s head, there’s still about 1/8 of an inch of tread left.
A Tread Wear Gauge
A tread wear gauge allows you to easily check the tread wear on your tires. It measures in 32nds of an inch, and there are various types of gauges on the market, ranging from manual to laser gauges.
Age is also an important factor to consider when changing your tires. This is because the components can become brittle over time. Manufacturers recommend that tires are replaced every six to ten years or sooner if there are visible signs of damage.
Tire wear isn’t the only time you would need to change your car’s tires. It’s a good idea to change your tires when:
- You move to an area that has different climate conditions. While a good set of all-terrain tires works for most conditions, some locations may need extra traction. For instance, moving to snow-prone areas would require snow tires.
- Your tires lose pressure all the time. While it’s common for tires to lose pressure, it becomes worrisome if they run flat every few days.
- You notice damage. You may notice a nail lodged between the treads. While it might be okay there for a while, it can cause serious damage if you hit a bump or a pothole. Some holes can’t be plugged or repaired, which means you’ll have to replace the tire.
- You notice aquaplaning. Even if you still have the required 1/16 of an inch of tread on your tires, severe rain conditions can cause aquaplaning if the tread is below 1/8 of an inch. It could also mean that the tread is wearing away equally, which may cause bald spots on the tires and contribute to a loss of traction.
How To Increase the Life of Your Tires
Tires have a limited lifespan, and there are factors that can contribute to their aging. But as a driver, you can also contribute to their lifespan.
Check Your Tires Regularly
Do regular checks on your tires and address issues, such as stones lodged between the treads. Check for nails and make sure to have any holes repaired as soon as possible.
It’s also important to keep the pressure at a factory-recommended setting for various weather or road conditions. For instance, if you’re traveling on a soft road, such as sand, quite regularly, you may need lower pressure in your tires than someone driving on the interstate every day.
Tire rotation is especially handy when you have a car with front- or rear-wheel drive. Regular tire rotations ensure that all your tires wear down at the same rate. While this means you have to change all four tires at once, it also means you have a better chance of keeping the wheel alignment intact.
This is also a good time to switch out the types of tires if there are seasonal or geographic changes.
Your Driving Style
Hard braking and skidding around corners are some ways to reduce the lifespan of your tires. Keep to the speed limit, give yourself enough time to slow down, and avoid potholes where possible to save your tires. It’s also important to drive at lower speeds if you’re going on long-distance road trips, as fast speeds eat away at tire tread.
Why It’s Important To Change Your Tires
Tires offer something more than just a soft cushion between the surface of the road and the wheel. They are important players when it comes to the overall handling of the car. For instance, tires are needed to provide traction between your car and the surface of the road, which allows you to move. Here are a few more reasons why you should change your tires regularly:
- Bald tires could result in a loss of control during bad weather conditions, especially if there’s a lot of oil slick on the road.
- Icy conditions require different tires than sunny summer days. The right tires will have you moving along faster and keep you safer.
- Tires don’t last forever, even when you don’t use them regularly. This is because components, such as rubber, deteriorate and become brittle over time.