Do I Need New Tires?

Tires are the unsung heroes of your vehicle, bearing the weight of your car and keeping you safely connected to the road. Knowing when to replace them can save you from inconvenient breakdowns and, more importantly, from potential accidents. So, how do you determine if you need new tires? Here are some key signs and tips to help you decide.

Do I Need New Tires? close up of tire tread

Tread Wear and Depth

One of the most obvious indicators that you need new tires is tread wear. Tires have tread wear indicators, which are small raised sections in the grooves of your tire. When the tread wears down to these indicators, it’s time for new tires. You can also use the penny test: insert a penny into the tread with Lincoln’s head facing down. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, your tread is too worn, and you need new tires.

Cracks and Bulges

Regularly inspect your tires for cracks and bulges. Cracks in the sidewall can be a sign of dry rot or other structural issues, which compromise the integrity of the tire. Bulges or blisters indicate weak spots where the outer surface of the tire is beginning to weaken. Driving on tires with these issues can be dangerous, as they are at higher risk of blowouts.

Age of the Tires

Tires deteriorate over time, even if they have not been extensively used. Most manufacturers recommend replacing tires every six to ten years, regardless of tread wear. Check the manufacturing date on the sidewall of your tire, indicated by the last four digits of the DOT code. The first two digits represent the week, and the last two digits the year of manufacture. For example, a code ending in 2318 indicates the tire was made in the 23rd week of 2018.

Uneven Wear Patterns

Uneven wear on your tires can signal alignment or suspension problems. If you notice that your tires are wearing more on one side than the other, it’s a good idea to have your alignment checked. Not only will this extend the life of your tires, but it will also improve your vehicle’s handling and safety.

Vibration and Noise

Excessive vibration or noise while driving can be a sign of tire issues. While some vibration is normal, especially on rough roads, consistent and excessive vibration may indicate problems such as unbalanced tires, misalignment, or internal tire damage. If you notice this, it’s wise to have your tires and vehicle inspected by professionals.

Fuel Efficiency Drop

A sudden decrease in fuel efficiency can sometimes be traced back to your tires. If your tires are under-inflated or have excessive wear, your car’s engine has to work harder, which in turn uses more fuel. Regularly checking your tire pressure and ensuring that your tires are in good condition can help maintain optimal fuel efficiency. A drop in miles per gallon (MPG) is often a sign that it might be time to consider new tires.

Consult with an Experienced Mechanic

At Pit Shop Automotive, we understand the importance of tire safety and longevity. Our team of experts is always ready to help you assess the condition of your tires and recommend the best course of action. Whether it’s a simple tire rotation, a balance check, or new tires altogether, we’re here to ensure your vehicle is in top shape. Get in touch with us today if you think your tires should be replaced, or if you have any questions.