It is crucial that your tire provides a safe grip at all times, in all weather. Tires that are worn may cause hydroplaning or even blow out while driving at high speeds, which can be dangerous and even life threatening to the driver and anyone else on the road. So how do you know when it’s time for a tire change?
Measure the Tread Depth
First what is tread depth? Tread depth this the distance between the top of the tread rubber to the bottom of the tire’s deepest grooves. In Michigan, where we experience rainy weather, it is recommended to change tires when they reach about 4/32” of the remaining tread depth. However, in the winter, you will want to replace the tires when they reach about 5/32” because you need more tread depth in the snow. You can estimate the tread depth by using a quarter or a tread depth gage.
For the quarter test, take the quarter and place it in one of the grooves of the tire tread. If the top portion of Washington’s head is covered by the rubber, you have about 4/32” tread depth which is a good time to replace the tire. However, this is only an estimate, so if you are still unsure, have your tires inspected by a Metro Detroit auto repair shop.
Watch for Cracks, Bulges, Blisters and Bubbles
Unfortunately, elements like UV rays and extreme temperatures will eventually cause the tires to crack. Your tires have anti-aging chemicals but the protection will eventually wear off, resulting in cracks. A common superficial crack that is also referred to as a weather crack or an ozone crack, is only on the surface and will may not necessarily require a tire replacement. However, it is time to change your tires if the cracks are deeper into the rubber. Additionally, if you notice any bulging, blistering or bubbles, you must replace the tire as soon as possible. These indicate severe damage to the inner lining of the tire. This type of damage usually occurs if you hit a curb or any other object.
Pay Attention to the Age of Your Tires
The Rubber Manufacturers Association says there is no way to put an expiration date on a tire. There are many different factors that can decrease the lifespan of the tire such as seasonal weather, extreme heat, storage and other conditions. There are certain tire manufacturers claiming a tire can last up to 10 years, but recommend yearly inspections after the 5th year.
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