You could be asking this question for several reasons. Either you have had your tires for a while and you are curious when to change them, or maybe that little warning light appeared on your dash. Maybe you’re getting ready to sell your car, and you know that the tires can have an impact on the value of your car.
Well, there are a few different ways to know when your tires need a little extra love.
Rotating your Tires
Tire rotation requires service in which a mechanic moves your front tires to the rear and vice versa. Typically you should change your tires between 5000-7500 miles, about the same for getting your oil changed, but there is some leniency depending on the type of tires you have and your vehicle’s requirements. It is always best to look at your manual.
You could be asking, why is this important? You are keeping the same tires just moving them, what does that do?
According to Bridgestone, rotating your tires allows the same amount of wear to happen on all four tires. Some vehicles have different tire positioning that causes a greater amount of wear on either the front or the back tires.
For example, front-wheel-drive vehicles will have more wear on the front tires versus the back. Tire rotation for all-wheel-drive vehicles will “lower the stress on the drivetrain” and help reduce the wear on expensive components.
When traction is even on all four tires, it helps improve cornering and braking performance as well as the overall safety of your vehicle.
Tire Pressure Warning Light
If you are seeing this light, it could mean a couple of different things, but it is very important to get it checked out. Typically this light tells you if your tires are underinflated or overinflated.
Underinflated tires could mean you need to add more air to your tires, which is a pretty simple problem to fix. You can stop by most gas stations to add more air for a very cheap price.
While this doesn't mean you will automatically get a flat tire, it does mean that you are at risk for future issues if you do not do something soon.
Meanwhile, overinflated tires could cause premature wear and quickly decrease your tread depth. If you think you have overinflated your tires, try to let out some air until you have reached the appropriate psi level.
Whether underinflated or overinflated, it’s important to correct your tire pressure to improve performance.
Replacing your Tires
The best way to know if you need your tires replaced is by checking the tread as often as you can (every month or so).
How do you do that? You would think you needed a specific type of tool or some sort of expert, but all you need is right in your wallet. A quarter.
All you have to do is stick the quarter within the tread lines, and if you find Washington’s head partially covered by the tread, that means you have 4/32 of an inch or more on your tread. This tread level is okay if you won’t be experiencing rain or snow anytime soon. However, it is recommended that you replace your tires at 4/32 of an inch or lower for safety reasons.
Important Notes About Changing Your Tires
According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, 9% of all accidents in the US are tire-related, which is why tire care is a must. Legally, your level should be above 2/32 inches to pass any sort of inspection.
If you’ve realized that you need new tires, it’s best to find a shop that replaces tires for a cheap price - especially if you find you have to replace all of them.
Lastly, if you are wondering what types of tires to get, consult your owner’s manual. It will tell you what tires work best for your specific vehicle make.
Look at keeping track of your tires as maintaining your vehicle’s health. The more you keep track of your tire tread and psi, the better health of your tires, and the safer your car becomes.