Maximize Safety: Know When to Replace Your Tires

Sometimes you just know when you need new tires. You may feel your car slip when it is wet or notice the tread looks a little low. Tires on modern vehicles have built-in indicators that show when a tire wears down. But often, tires are something we don’t pay as much attention to as we should.

According to a sample study* by the National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Survey, 9% of the examined car crashes involved a vehicle with tire problems prior to the crash. This reflects 2,188,970 crashes from a national perspective and highlights the significance of tire-related issues in vehicle accidents.

Tires are important to your car’s overall safety so here are some tips to consider.

Signs your vehicle may need new tires:

Wear and tear. Tires naturally weaken over time and can affect driving performance. Cracking and dry rot are signs of wear and tear.

Tread. Put a penny upside down in the tread of a tire. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, the tire should be replaced. Check multiple places in each tire and test all tires. 

Age. Look for a series of four numbers on the side of the tire. The first two digits are the week and the last two digits are the year the tire was made. Vehicle manufacturers recommend replacing tires after six years.

Now that you know it may be time to go tire shopping, consider the following before you head to the auto shop:

Consult the owner’s manual or inside the driver’s door jamb to find the size and type of tire for your vehicle.

Consider use of the vehicle, such as how much driving, how heavy the load, and weather conditions, to determine if all-weather or high-performance tires are sensible.

Ask friends, family, or coworkers for recommendations on where to buy tires. 

Size matters. Replacement tires should always match what is listed in the owner’s manual and door jamb, which may not match those currently on your vehicle.

Check the age of the tires and look for recent makes. You don’t want to be tire shopping again soon! 

Shop around for sales and prices. Choose a store that has knowledgeable, helpful staff and will replace the tires for you. Know the fine print on any warranty before purchasing.

Also, be mindful that the signs your vehicle needs new tires may also be signs of other vehicle maintenance issues, such as misalignment, over or under inflation of tires, or the need to rotate tires more often. Proper tire maintenance helps the overall condition of your vehicle and impacts driving performance, fuel economy, and safety. Remember to check your tires.


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