Knowing when to replace your tires is crucial, as tires that are too old or damaged are not safe and could put you in danger. Have you ever wondered how much life your tires had left in them? Ever questioned their safety? Let’s take a look at the 5 basic rules of tire replacement and clear up any confusion.
1. Tread depth – Tire tread depth is measured in 32nds of an inch, and most new tires come with somewhere between 9/32nds – 11/32nds of tread depth. (This number may be higher for winter tires or lower for summer tires.) Once your tires are worn down to 2/32nds of tread, they are considered bald and have hit the end of their life. Ideally, you’d consider replacing them when they are at 4/32nds – 3/32nds, as those depths are still pretty low and have lost some of their traction. Click here to learn how to measure your tread depth.
2. Damage – If the tires are damaged and cannot be repaired, obviously they need to be replaced. This is usually the case for blowouts, large punctures/holes, any damage close to the sidewall, or bubbles anywhere in the tire (see picture).
3. Tire Wear – If they are worn unevenly beyond correction, it’s time to replace them. Uneven tires can be unpredictable and unsafe in terms of handling and traction.
4. Dry rot – If your tires show any signs of dry rot, a.k.a. sidewall cracking, it’s time to replace them. All tires that are 5-6+ years old are at risk for dry rot, but it may happen sooner or could happen a little later. Click here to learn more about dry rot.
5. Age – Always replace tires once they are 10 years old, regardless of how they look or how much they’ve been used. At this age, there is a high likelihood that the interior has dry rot, the rubber is not as flexible, and the belts/other metal components aren’t as strong.
Some of these things – like dry rot or certain kinds of damage – are often best to have evaluated by a professional. To an untrained eye, a tire may look totally fine, when in fact, it could pose a safety hazard. Once you know you’re in the market for new tires, you may wonder how many to replace. Click here to learn about how many tires you should replace on your vehicle. At Wiygul Automotive Clinic, our tire technicians are expertly trained to determine how safe your tires are. Stop in to any of our convenient locations and we’ll be glad to inspect, repair, or replace your tires as needed!