With our busy lives and demanding schedules, who really has the time to thoroughly check the tyres on their vehicle to see if they need replacing? Of course, if you have a mechanic check your vehicle periodically, they will most likely tell you if the tyres need to be changed. If it's been a while, you'll want to check out these 5 ways to determine if you need new tyres.
Weathering is a major factor for the tyres on your vehicle. They are endlessly exposed to the elements (heat, cold, snow, ice and water). Because rubber is a natural material and will break down over time, you need to be aware of the potential signs of weathering. Common indicators are fine cracks in the sidewall and in between the tread blocks. If you do discover these cracks (which will expose the internal materials of the tyre to the elements), your tyres should be replaced immediately to prevent any damage or issues with your vehicle.
This usually occurs in a tyre after a substantial impact with a pothole or a curb. Manufacturer defects can also cause this issue, but are less common. A bulge is caused by air getting between the inner liner of the tyre and the outer material layers (fabric, metal or rubber), resulting in an air pocket to form at the weakened area. If this is not addressed, the bulge could rupture cause serious damage and/or injury.
Vibrations are an indicator of various tyre problems from tyre balancing to out-of-round issues. One major tyre problem that can cause a vibration is when the ‘belts' or inner cords of the tyre separate or shift. Although this is not visible to the naked eye it becomes abundantly clear when the tyre is mounted to a balancing machine. The driving feel with a separated tyre is described as lumpy at low speeds which becomes a very high frequency vibration at highway speeds. A tyre with these issues needs to be replaced.
At what point is a tyre considered worn out? The actual measurement of a tyre that has exceeded its usable life is 2/32nds of an inch. If you have a tread depth gauge great, just check your tyres; if not, here's a simple test you can perform to see if your tyres need to be replaced.
Tyre age ties into a couple of the previously mentioned issues, but is also affected by the date they were manufactured. Typically, most tyre manufacturers recommend tyre replacements at 5 or 6 years with an absolute replacement timeline of 10 years regardless of tyre condition or tread depth. Your tyres have a date stamp on the sidewall that indicates the week and year the tyre was manufactured. Use this stamp to assess the age and timeline for replacement of your tyres.