You rely on your vehicle for safe and convenient transportation. Tire safety plays a crucial role in ensuring this. You probably know when it’s time for a routine oil change or tune-up, but do you know when to replace the tires on your vehicle? Doing so can prevent dangerous blowouts and ensure adequate traction when it matters most.
How Does Road Safety Affect When to Replace Tires?
Your tires are the only physical connection your vehicle has to the road. They provide you with traction, stability, and braking power. All of these factors are crucial for safe driving. Worn-out tires can jeopardize your safety on the road. One NHTSA study found that tire-related issues caused the death of 612 people in 2019.
These are some of the consequences of failing to change tires on time:
- Lower fuel efficiency
- Poor handling
- Increased wear and tear on other parts of your vehicle
- Higher risk of causing a car crash
What Are the Different Types of Tires on the Road?
There are several different ways to classify vehicle tires. The answer you get on the variations will depend on who you ask and the purpose of your question. Consider the following differences when identifying types:
- Season: There are four main types on the road: all-season, summer, winter, and all-terrain.
- Make: Some companies specialize in certain types of tire uses. For example, you’ll find that travel trailers use completely different tires from trucks or cars. When to replace tire makes also differs.
- Ply: This term describes the number of layers in the tire. For example, the tires on travel trailers and the trucks hauling them should ideally be 10-ply or higher.
- Size: Measure tires by width, height, and diameter. You can usually find the exact size stamped on the sidewalls.
How Often Should You Replace Tires on a Vehicle?
The average lifespan of a car tire is around 50,000 miles. However, you may need to replace your tires sooner if you drive on rough roads or in extreme conditions. Check your tires regularly for signs of wear and tear.
Tires can also age out. In other words, even if you have never used the tire, it could become unsafe to drive on. Exposure to the elements, especially ultraviolet rays, can deteriorate the tire. Consequently, the NHTSA recommends replacing tires every six to 10 years.
You can find a tire’s age on the sidewalls. It is usually a four-digit number representing the week and year of production. For example, 1021 would mean the tire was manufactured in the 10th week of 2021.
How Do You Know When to Replace Tires?
Identifying premature signs of tire failure is easier than you might think. There are three main signs of a tire malfunction:
- Uneven or rapid tread wear
- Bulges or blisters on the sidewalls
- Cracks in the rubber
Performing regular inspections can keep you up-to-date on the health of your tires. It’s also not a bad idea to ask your mechanic to check the tires when you bring the vehicle in for routine maintenance. Most shops do this anyway, but it’s worth asking to ensure it gets done.
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What Can You Do to Extend Your Tire Lifespan?
Replacing tires is an expensive part of vehicle maintenance. Thankfully, you can also do several things to ensure you get the full six to 10 years of ownership out of your tires.
Invest in a Good Quality Tire
Don’t skimp on quality when replacing your tires. Good quality tires last longer and provide a smoother ride. They also generally have a better grip, improving your safety on the road.
These are some of the factors to consider when choosing a good tire for your vehicle:
- The ply rating
- The speed rating
- The weight/load rating
- Treadwear warranty
- Noise level
Balance and Rotate Your Tires
Maintaining proper tire balance and rotation can help you avoid premature tread wear. This is especially important if you drive a front-wheel-drive vehicle. The front tires take the brunt of the force when you start, stop, and turn. Consequently, they tend to wear out faster than the rear tires.
You can help lengthen when to replace tires by balancing and rotating them regularly. How often depends on your driving habits and the type of vehicle you drive. A good rule of thumb is every 5,000 to 6,000 miles.
Check Your Tire Pressure Regularly
Underinflated tires are one of the leading causes of premature tread wear because it causes additional strain on the tires. Underinflated tires can also heat up more quickly due to more friction.
Avoid this by checking your tire pressure regularly. Most experts recommend checking your tire pressure at least once a month. You can do this easily with a digital tire pressure gauge. The NHTSA estimates that tire pressure monitoring systems reduce the risk of underinflated tires by 56% and could save fleets a collective amount of $510 million in fuel.
What Should You Do If You Experience Tire Failure?
Replacing old tires helps prevent blowouts and flats. However, if you still experience a tire failure, there are several things you should do:
- Pull over as soon as possible.
- Do not brake suddenly.
- Do not turn sharply.
- Slowly reduce your speed until you come to a stop.
- Turn on your hazard lights.
- Call for help.
- Replace the tire with a spare if you have one.
- Call for roadside assistance if you do not have a spare.
Knowing when to replace tires is integral to vehicle maintenance, but it can cost you. An unexpected breakdown can also be detrimental to your wallet. If you are worried about the expense of potential vehicle repairs, invest in an autopom! vehicle protection plan to help you cover the cost of repairs and replacements. Our team of agents can help you find the best plan for your budget, your vehicle, and even your tires!