car with flat tire
Automobile Maintenance

Oil the Wheels! 4 Warning Signs You Need to Replace Your Tires ASAP

“How often should tires be replaced?”

If you’re having a tough time remembering the last time you put new tires on your car, truck, or SUV, you might be asking yourself that question right now. Most people realize they need to replace their tires every so often, but they don’t always know when they need to do it.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends replacing tires at least every six years. This is because tires cause more than 700 traffic fatalities every year.

But there is a good chance that you’ll need to replace your tires sooner than that if you drive around on them a lot. By keeping a close eye out for signs that your tires need to be replaced, you can figure out exactly when you need new tires put on your car.

Here are four warning signs you shouldn’t ignore.

1. Your Tires Don’t Have Any Tread Left

When you first stick new tires on your car, they’ll have plenty of tread on the outside of them. This tread allows you to keep control of your vehicle when it’s out on the road, regardless of how slippery the surface that you’re driving on might be.

Over time, though, it’s not uncommon for the tread on tires to wear down. Eventually, there won’t be any tread left on your tires, which will make it unsafe for you to drive around on them.

If you can still see the tread on your tires, you might be under the impression that you don’t have anything to worry about. But the truth is that your tires can still be unsafe even if they have some tread left on them.

For years, tire experts have recommended performing the so-called “penny test” to check the tread on tires. To do this test, all you have to do is insert a penny into the tread on a tire.

If there’s enough tread to cover Abraham Lincoln’s head, then a tire has enough tread left on it. But if Lincoln’s head isn’t covered by the tread, then the tire needs to be replaced.

Recently, some tire experts have suggested using the quarter test as opposed to the penny test since it requires more tread on tires. But regardless of which method you use, it’s essential for you to keep a close eye on your tread at all times.

2. Your Tires Are Blistering or Have Metal Showing

Take a walk around the outside of your vehicle and look at your tires. Do you see blisters on any of them or any other physical damage to them?

Blisters are one of the surefire signs that you need to do tire replacement. You should not, under any circumstances, drive around on tires that have blisters. Those blisters could cause a tire to pop without warning.

While you’re walking around your vehicle, you should also raise an eyebrow if you spot any tires that have metal showing. There are wires that sit under the surface of tires that can start to show when they wear down. At that point, you’ll definitely need to have tire replacement done.

3. Your Tires Are Causing Your Car to Vibrate

To the naked eye, the tires on your car might look just fine. The tread on them might check out, and there might not be any blisters or metal showing on them.

But this doesn’t mean that you don’t have anything to worry about! You should also make a note of how your tires feel when you’re driving around on them. Specifically, you should be concerned if your car vibrates at all when you’re driving in it.

A car can start to vibrate for any number of reasons when you’re driving it. But more often than not, vibrations occur when the tires on a car are out of balance. You’ll notice it most when you’re driving your car right around 50 miles per hour.

There is a chance that your rotors or some other component of your car could be to blame for vibrations. But oftentimes, it’s your car’s tires that are to blame when it begins vibrating while your vehicle is in motion.

4. Your Tires Are Very Old

Wheels won’t last forever. It doesn’t matter if you’re talking about a wheel on a car or a large grinding wheel—you will need to replace it at some point!

As we mentioned earlier, the NHTSA recommends replacing wheels on a car every six years or so. But that’s not going to help you too much if you don’t remember when your wheels were last replaced.

Fortunately, there’s an easy way to figure it out when you find yourself asking, “How often should tires be replaced?” You can look on your tires for the DOT Tire Identification Number, or TIN.

The TIN will tell you everything you need to know about when your tires were made. The last four digits of the TIN will indicate both the week and the year when the tires were created.

If, for example, your TIN is “0713,” it means your tires were manufactured in the seventh week of 2013. It also means that your tires are now more than six years old and should be replaced, even if you don’t see any obvious signs of danger by looking at your tires.

So, How Often Should Tires Be Replaced? It All Depends

If you’re asking yourself the question, “How often should tires be replaced?”, it probably means that your tires are on the older side. You should look into having them replaced.

You should also make sure that you replace them with high-quality tires and that you maintain those tires over time. You should rotate them every once in a while to prevent your tires from wearing down unevenly.

Would you like to learn more about replacing the tires on a car? Take a look at our blog to get more tips on finding the right tires for your specific vehicle.