Tires handle a great deal of wear and tear while in use and degrade over time. The condition of your tires directly influences the performance and responsiveness of your vehicle. Ensuring that your tires are in good working order is essential to maintaining your safety and performance while driving. Understanding the main signs to look for that suggest that you need to replace your tires can help you safeguard yourself and your vehicle.
The most common sign that you need to replace your tires is simply general wear, in which the treads have become too shallow to properly grip the road while in use. This can be hard to see at first glance. Tirerack.com suggests that you use a penny to measure the depth of the tread, putting the head side upside down. If you can still see the head, the tread is too worn to safely drive on and you should have your tires replaced. Alternatively, many tires have tread wear indicators built into them, which are flat bars that appear as the tread wears away. If you can see these bars (which run against the tread of the tire), it's time to get a new set of tires.
Any signs of small bulges or indentations on the surface or sidewall of the tire means that the rubber is wearing extremely thin and will soon wear through. These areas tend to have increased pressure on them, which means that at high speeds they can blow out and cause a flat, a serious safety issue. Replace your tires as soon as possible to mitigate the risk of this happening.
If you notice that your vehicle or steering column is vibrating while you are driving, especially at higher speeds, it may be because your tires are wearing too thin or unevenly. You should check your tires to see if the wear is the problem, and if so, replace them as needed. If your tires are not the problem, there is another problem related to your steering, which you should consult a mechanic about and fix as soon as you can.
Examine the surface of each tire, including the sidewalls, for any small cracks or punctures. These do not have to be large cracks to be serious – any sort of air leakage from your tire can rapidly expand or blow out while under pressure. Check any indentations or grooves as well, as these could be signs of damage. Any physical damage to any part of your tire will require that you change your tires out.
For more information, contact Dial-A-Tire Inc. or a similar company.