It’s not something you might think about on a day to day basis, but tires play a major role in road safety. It’s important to know when your tires need to be changed for optimum road safety. Here are some examples of extreme cases where your tires definitely need to be changed.
Alignment wear is caused when your car or truck does not have the wheels properly aligned. Your tires do not cause this, but they are one of the best indicators that your car needs an alignment. You can tell that your car needs an alignment when you see that one side of your tire (typically the side facing inward toward the car) is more faded than the other side. If you see alignment wear, get your tires changed! One side of the tire will wear out before the other side, and you may pop a tire. You should get an alignment also.
Cracks In Your Tires
Your tires will not last forever, even if they look like they still have a lot of tread. As tires age, they lose moisture and begin to crack. Aside from the pattern of the tread, your tires should be smooth. If you start to see lines or cracks in between the tread marks, chunks of rubber missing or gouges in the rubber, or worst of all if you begin to see metal belts instead of rubber, GET YOUR TIRES CHANGED! Old tires are liable to have strips of rubber fall off the tire as you are driving or even explode on the road.
This is the most common reason most people will have to change their tires. As you drive, the ridges and patterns carved into your tires, or the tread pattern, helps your car not to slip or slide and to generally have good traction on the road. As you drive however, the amount of rubber on the tire will decrease. There are little bars of rubber in between the tread called wear bars, and these bars help you to know how much rubber is left on your tire.Transportation authorities state that you should change your tires when the rubber has decreased to the point where the wear bars become level with the rest of the tire tread surface, approximately 1.6 mm (2/32″) of remaining tread.
Though the minimum standard suggests that tires should be changed at 1.6mm of tread, we suggest that consumers change their tires before that time to ensure road safety. Summer and all season passenger vehicles should consider changing tires at 3 mm (4/32″) and winter tires at 4 mm (5/32″) due to traction being crucial on icy or slushy roads.
You can measure the tread depth of your tires with a tread depth gauge.