When it comes to car maintenance, you’ll find plenty of advice on servicing your engine, changing your filters, and such. However, you’ll find hardly any mention of tire maintenance.
Which is surprising.
Similar to all other car parts, your tires also wear out and need replacing. And if they fail, the results are often dangerous, especially when you are on the highway.
There are a few key reasons why tires are ignored.
For one, they are expensive, although today there are many flexible tire payment options. Secondly, the fact that tires can last 4 to 5 years gives drivers a false sense of security.
The dangers of old, unmaintained tires are more than a myth.
According to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration, there are over 11,000 tire-related crashes each year. More than 600 people die in these crashes.
So, what can you do to ensure your tires are road safe?
Well, other than a flat or blowout, there are two factors that can help decide if your tires need replacing.
Your tread depth and manufacture date.
Why & When You Should Replace Your Tires
When the treads on your tire wear out, it causes serious drivability, braking, and control issues. Your car takes longer to stop, traction gets worse and there are increased chances of hydroplaning.
The best way to assess your tire health is to take it to a professional. But, you can also check the tread depth yourself.
According to the road rules of the USA, a tire must be at least 2/32 inches deep. If your tires don’t meet this standard, it’s time to replace them.
You can do the penny test to check the depth yourself.
Date of manufacture
When did you last replace your tires? It is recommended that car and SUV tires be replaced every 5 to 6 years.
Some manufacturers recommend replacing tires at the 10-year mark. You should check the manufacturer’s recommendations on your tire model before you begin.
Even if your tread wear is up to standard, don’t use tires beyond this date.
The reason that you must not use tires beyond this date is that the rubber dries and cracks up over time. This can lead to a flat tire or blowout when driving.
While these are general guidelines, a lot depends on your driving style. If you drive more frequently, and corner or accelerate aggressively, you will wear the tread quicker.
There are a few things you can do to maintain your tires and use them for longer.
Properly inflate tires
For example, you should always keep tires properly inflated. Under or over-inflated tires cause uneven tread wear.
They may also not steer, brake, or accelerate properly. Check your tire pressure every month when the car is cold and top it up if needed.
Read how you can find the correct tire pressure for your vehicle.
Rotate your tires every 10,000 kilometres
Regular tire rotation can improve performance and extend their life. Do this every six months or 10,000 kilometres.
Get a wheel alignment
Daily knocks like potholes can affect your tire alignment. Get it adjusted every 12 months or 25,000 kilometres.
Do a tire balancing
Unbalanced tires can cause premature, uneven tire tread wear. Anytime you change tires, rotate or get new tires, get your tires balanced.
What do you do in case of a blowout?
If you have a blowout, you will, of course, need to replace that specific tire. However, depending on the tread wear, you may have to replace some or all of the other tires.
This is because uneven tread levels between tires can cause excessive wear and tear on your drive train.
It is advised to never change one tire alone. Always change the tire on the opposite side too.
The only exception to this rule is AWD cars. With these systems, all four tires need to be replaced at the same time to ensure everything functions properly.
New tires can be pricey but safety on the road is even more important. Tires are easily the most important safety feature in the vehicle, and you should not put off replacing them.
New tires improve fuel efficiency, give you a more comfortable ride and ensure you are as safe as possible.
Tire maintenance isn’t even too difficult. Check your tread length, ensure tires are correctly inflated, and keep in mind the manufacture date – that’s it!