It's Time To Replace Your Tires!

It's Time To Replace Your Tires!

As the responsible driver that you are, you know how important it is to change your car's tires once in a while. You also know that driving with used tires seriously affects the ability of the car to go smoothly and securely. But how often does this "once in a while" have to happen? What signs whisper to us that the tires are already not performing enough?

Many drivers are guided by tire validity period. And this is right, but only to a certain extent. Some variables influence the validity period of the tires, drivers being forced to replace them much faster than the period indicates. And if drivers ignore these variables, they could expose themselves to unwanted dangers. These variables include but are not limited to the quality of the tires, the way the owner drives the car, the roads the car usually rides on, and many more.

With these in mind, I suggest that we all be guided mainly by the condition of the tires, and not only by the term of validity. Luckily, many signs let us know it's time. All you have to do to identify them is to regularly inspect the condition of your tires and pay attention to the symptoms I'm going to talk about. Every driver has a history with his car. Consequently, the tires wear differently from one another. So all you have to do is know how to decipher the clues and start looking for a new set of tires.

When Should You Replace Your Tires?

Let's take 2 examples: a Honda Civic and a Honda Pilot. The first example is a front-wheel drive and the second is an all-wheel drive car. Which one do you think will wear its front tires harder? That's right, it's the FWD Civic. The reason lies in the front traction, which makes all the possible pressure of acceleration, braking, and torque fall specifically on the front wheels.

The AWD Pilot will also wear its tires but in a completely different way. They will wear much more evenly. The idea is that tires wear differently depending on the type of traction of the car, as well as many other factors. For this reason, don't just look for a single indication of tire wear and tear. Pay attention to the whole set of clues, so that you can make a more accurate estimate. Here's what you need to pay particular attention to...

Tire Treadwear

The most obvious and suggestive clue is tire treadwear. Many specialists and car enthusiasts draw particular attention to this aspect. And they do it right. The depth (or lack thereof) of the tread tells you that it's time to think about a new set of tires. Experts recommend checking what's left of the tread about every month. Well, it is also accepted once every 2 months. The idea is not to miss the moment when the tire tread becomes completely gone.

A frequent mistake that drivers make is that they measure the depth of only one tire. I am definitely against this approach. The reason is uneven wear that your tires can undergo. And if one tire indicates an acceptable depth, the other 3 can already be worn out. So inspect all 4 tires for a more accurate estimate.
As a guideline, the minimum allowable standard is 2/32” of the tread. But I strongly suggest avoiding this limit, because it is far too little. A technician can help you measure the depth of your tread. Alternatively, you can use the old and safe method of measuring the tread depth with a penny.

Tire Pressure

If the treadwear inspection phase was a piece of cake, the other clues are already a bit more complex, because they can be interpreted differently. For example tire pressure. Agree that it is almost impossible to deduce only visually if the pressure is within the norm or not. You can only see it when the tire is completely flat. In other cases, only a tool can confirm or deny that the pressure is the one recommended by the manufacturer.

In this context, we often drive cars with underinflated tires without even realizing it. If we are lucky enough to have a more modern car that has a TPMS, we are always aware of the pressure level. But if not, all we have to do is roughly estimate the pressure level until we reach a technical service center.

In some cases, the tire may have a micropuncture through which the air slowly leaks out, impacting the optimal pressure level. With low pressure, the tire deteriorates slowly but surely. Ask yourself how often you find yourself with low tire pressure. If you do it very often, you should think about a possible puncture that you don't know about. So either you repair or replace it. You will decide it with the help of a mechanic. But what you have to keep in mind is that the pressure in the tires can still be an indication that the tire is not ok and you have to take measures.

Tire Cracks

Another impending clue is the cracks in your tires. Even if the treadwear suggests that the tire is still able to perform long and steady, the cracks suggest otherwise. This troubling factor gives many drivers a headache because they have to change the tires much earlier than the validity period says.
The reason why cracks form in a tire is their natural aging. Thus, they degrade by themselves even in the absence of extreme wear conditions. A serious enemy for tires is the sun, whose UV rays present a serious threat to tires.

Of course, the manufacturers apply various chemical components to make the tires last as long as possible. But UV rays are merciless and sooner or later they will affect the condition of the tires. There are plenty of maintenance solutions that minimize the UV impact on tires. But these only reduce it, not remove it altogether. So, tire cracking over time is an almost inevitable phenomenon.

The problem with these cracks is that you never know exactly what their true depth is. A crack can be shallow, another can be much too deep. And any process that adds pressure to the tires can lead to a puncture or worse, to a blowout. What do you do if you find cracks in your tires? You start looking for their replacement.

Temperature Impact

Like it or not, our tires are dependent on the weather. The environment in which we live matters a lot when we refer to tire longevity. This happens because the air in the tires compresses or expands if the temperature decreases or increases, respectively. Consequently, the tires are always prone to increase or decrease in pressure, without us even getting involved in this process. Even if we adjust the pressure to the reasonable level recommended by the manufacturer, the tires change the pressure level depending on the temperature.
In this context, both under and overinflated tires tend to wear out faster. So I don't rule out that you will have to replace the tires sooner than you might have planned. If you live in an area with very high or low temperatures, keep in mind proper care for your tires to minimize their premature wear.

Steering Vibration

We recommend being vigilant about the way your steering wheel behaves during driving. It is possible that because of the tires, it might start to shake and vibrate. The vibration in the steering wheel suggests that something in the suspension system is not right and one of the reasons could be the tires.
However, don't rush to change them right away.

First, consult a service center. The vibration in the system can refer to a series of irregularities including wheel misalignment, tire misbalance, and others. The technician may want to do a tire rotation to see if the issue is solved. So you don't have to make a decision alone. In these circumstances, you need a consultation with an expert. Only if he confirms that the issue is tire-related will you have the green light to change them to a new set.

Why Do You Need To Change Tires?

First of all, the authorities do not allow by law the exploitation of used tires, to reduce the risk of road accidents. So, you risk breaking the law if you still long to drive with your used tires for some more thousand miles. But the reasons for changing tires are much more serious than just the legal ones. It's about your safety and comfort on the road. Traffic safety is the number one priority.

Changing your tires regularly increases the performance of your vehicle, which leads to increased comfort. The traction becomes much more promising and you feel the car in its full force. With the change of tires, the friction while driving decreases, which results in more efficient fuel consumption. So, it is also a cost-friendly advantage in timely changing the tires.

Last but not least, your vehicle becomes much more responsive with good tires. This aspect is extremely important in situations of quick reaction to a road hazard.

What Are The Risks of Not Changing Tires on Time?

Contrasting with the benefits, the risks of not changing the tires entail a series of dangers for your life and those around you.
First of all, worn tires are sensitive to any road barrier. Any pothole or debris can cause tire puncture, or worse, tire blowout.
Also, used tires do not offer a stable grip on the road, especially in conditions of humidity, snow, and debris. The car is very prone to hydroplaning, and the driver is prone to losing control over driving.

How Often Should Tires Be Replaced?

Now that you understand how important it is to change your tires on time, let's see how often you should do it. The general rule says that a tire can serve around 6 years. However, all manufacturers and experts in the field will agree with me that you must change them according to their condition.

Based on the previous clues, try to estimate how good the condition of your tires is, to conclude how much longer you can go with them. And don't forget, it's not the years of the tires that count, but their condition. So it is not excluded to change them earlier than 6 years. You must never exceed this deadline.

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Tire Replacement: FAQs

Is it OK to Replace Just One Tire?

It is important to estimate the condition of all tires before deciding on their replacement. As a general guideline, specialists recommend replacing all 4 tires, or at least 2, if we are talking about FWD or RWD vehicles. Changing a single tire is accepted if the condition of the tires is still quite good with wear not higher than 30%. In such cases, the new tire should go on the rear axle.

Should I Replace All 4 Tires At Once?

It's highly recommended. If the tires have different treads and different conditions, you can expect a performance conflict between them. For example, old tires might not provide the same traction as the new ones, which will lead to poor performance and severe tire wear. In the case of AWD and 4WD vehicles, replacement of all 4 tires is a must for safety reasons. In the case of FWD and RWD, replacing all 4 tires is highly recommended, but the option to change only 2 is also accepted.

Can I Put 2 New Tires On The Front?

The ideal scenario is to replace all 4 tires. This ensures solid performance and significantly reduces the potential performance conflict between new and old tires. If you prefer the scenario of replacing only 2 tires, the new tires should be mounted on the rear axle.

Do I Really Need New Tires?

You really need new tires when the old ones already don't have enough depth and integral tread to ensure driving safety and performance. To check this, you can apply the Penny test that estimates the depth of your tread. If the penny barely fits into the tire tread, tire replacement is an ASAP must.

What Are the Signs of Bad Tires?

The following symptoms suggest that your tires are no longer serviceable and safe. Keep these signs in mind and look for a new set of tires when you notice one or more of them in the current tires:

  • vibrations when driving
  • unusual noise when driving
  • uneven tire wear
  • shallow tire tread
  • cracks and bulges
  • bubbles on the sidewalls
  • natural aging

Why Put New Tires On The Rear?

If the tires on the rear of the vehicle are in poor condition, the vehicle becomes much too sensitive to hydroplaning on wet roads. Also, the car is more prone to skidding, if we are talking about winter roads. Regardless of the vehicle's traction system, the new tires should go on the rear axle. This allows greater controllability of the vehicle. Otherwise, the rear part of the vehicle will slide, provide poor traction, and reduce controllability if old tires are placed on the rear axle.

Why Trust Us?

Neotires is here to assist you in everything that means tires by definition. This means that we offer great tire deals that combine performance, quality, and a reasonable price. In addition, we can assist you with recommendations, reviews, comparisons, and ratings based on the studies and tests of our team of specialists. We have been in this field for over 5 years and have enough mechanical, technical, and informational experience and expertise to provide high-quality service and products.

Our team focuses on the satisfaction of our customers and we aim to create a long-term collaboration with them. For this, we do our best to offer the most objective and unbiased tire products, safety tips, and professional assistance. Contact us for any questions. We'll gladly share all we know about how to improve your driving experience. Drive safe and change your tires in time!

Brian Darr is a passion-driven enthusiast who has become an expert in the tire industry. His passion for rubber started with his first driving experience. He firmly believes that the performance and safety of any vehicle are due, first of all, to the quality of the tires mounted on it.
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