When Should I Replace My Tires?
When it comes to vehicle maintenance and road safety, we are often quick to think of engines and brakes but are quite dense about the health of our tires.
Tires should be replaced on a schedule as regular as your oil changes. But, how do you know when? Keep reading to find out.
First, take a good look
First things first, take a few seconds every month to inspect your tires for wear. A brand new tire has deep, crisp grooves called treads. As the miles pass, those treads will be worn down and reduce your tires’ traction on the road.
A worn down tire will be visibly smoother.
Photo Credit: TestingAutos.com
It’s much smarter to replace those tires before you’re taking the kids on a trip to the cabin for the weekend and a deer dashes across the highway.
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Use the Toonie test
Photo Credit: AMA
There’s an easy way to check if your tires are going to be in need of replacement soon! Take a toonie and slip it between your tread blocks. If the top of the tire tread only reaches the bottom boundary of the letters of “CANADA” or “DOLLAR”, your tires need to be replaced.
If you want to be as precise as possible, opt for a tire tread depth gauge and make sure your treads never go lower than 4/32”. These gauges are readily available for you from any auto parts dealer.
Check for visual damage to the tires
Worn down tire treads aren’t the only signs that’ll tell you when it’s time for a new set! If you notice any of the following signs of distress on your tires, you should already be on high alert (even if the treads are still fine):
- A bulge in the side wall
- Cracks in the tire material
- Punctures in the sidewall
Choose to ignore any of these signs and risk blowing out a tire while you’re driving down the highway at 100km/hour … potentially leading to a fatal collision.
Be aware of steering wheel vibrations
The vibrations occur when your tires are “cupped”, which means that they will show a scalloped appearance along the tire wall. The longer you procrastinate replacing your tires, the more dangerous driving conditions will become (and the higher the likelihood of damaging other parts of your vehicle). Cupped tires have a smaller contact surface with the ground, reducing the amount of traction you receive while driving. This makes it harder to brake quickly or turn your vehicle accurately.
Keep up with the new
Sometimes, even if nothing seems out of the ordinary, it is good practice to change out your tires every six years, at least. Ten years in the maximum service life for tires (usually). Check your owner’s manual for any specific recommendations related to your car.
As a general tip, always err on the side of caution if you feel like your vehicle has put in its time and has tires that could be over six years in age.
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