When to Buy New Tires
It can be easy to forget that tires are the most important safety feature on a vehicle. But, if you stop to think about it, it’s easy to see why. Tires have direct contact with the road. They have a huge impact on riding, handling and braking.
For ideal performance, tires should:
- be properly balanced and inflated
- show no signs of physical damage
- have adequate tread depth
Depth and Age
According to NerdWallet, two factors will help determine when to replace your tires: tread depth and manufacturer date.
- When the tread is low, tires lose traction during braking. In addition, they won’t grip the road well during times of rain, ice or snow.
- Even if there’s plenty of tread left, tires should be replaced every six years.
- Over time, the rubber will dry and crack, possibly leading to a blowout or flat tire.
Measuring Tire Tread Depth
The easiest way to check the tread on your tires is with a quarter or penny.
AAA describes how to conduct the tests:
- Insert a quarter into a tread groove with the top of Washington’s head facing down. If the top of his head is not visible, your tires have at least 4/32″ of tread and are fine for continued use. If you can see above the top of Washington’s head, it’s time for new tires. Take multiple measurements across the tread to help ensure accurate results.
- You perform a penny test the same way, except if you can see above the top of Lincoln’s head, your tires have less than 2/32″ of tread. This is below the legal standard in most states, meaning you need new tires.
Checking the Age of Your Tires
The four-digit Department of Transportation code on your tire wall shows when the tire was manufactured. The first two numbers stand for the week in the year it was made. The other two are for the year. For example, if your tire has “1019” printed on it, then it was manufactured in the 10th week of 2019.
Worn or old tires can lead to many problems. While new tires can be pricey, they’re ultimately worth it in the long run. After all, there’s no price tag for safety.
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