The tires of your car are not designed to last forever. Each time you drive, the treads of your tires wear away a little more. For drivers who drive on bumpy roads or who regularly hit the sidewalk, tires can take a more severe beating and may require replacement even earlier than usual. Tires may also wear more or less quickly depending on the amount of tread present when the tires were first purchased.
It is best to replace your tires in a timely manner, since a failing tire could result in a serious accident. Your mechanic will likely advise you when your tires need to be replaced, but there are signs that you can recognize on your own between automotive visits. Here are a few indicators that it's time to purchase new tires:
Your tread has worn down.
The tread of your tires should always have a depth above one sixteenth of an inch. As you drive, bits of tread deteriorate or wear away, but the wear may not be obvious without close inspection. Thus, it is important to test your tread depth regularly. There are two common ways to test the depth of your tire tread:
A Tire Gauge
A tire gauge is a small measurement tool that can be picked up at most automotive supply stores. The gauge, which is about the size of a ballpoint pen, can be inserted into a groove between your tire treads to determine the tread depth.
Although a tire gauge is relatively inexpensive, you can check your tread depth for a single penny. The penny test involves taking the coin and placing it head down in a groove between your treads. If Abraham Lincoln's entire head is visible with the penny inserted, your tread has reached an unacceptable level, and your tires need to be replaced as soon as possible.
Your tread wear indicator bar is visible.
Many new tires include convenient indicator bars that are actually components of the tire itself. An indicator bar is not visible when the tires are first purchased. However, as the tread of the tires begins to wear away, the bars, which are usually positioned at a 90-degree angle to the tread lines, start to show. If multiple indicator bars are displayed on a tire, you are nearing the time for a replacement.
To have your current tires assist professionally, visit a tire service in your area.