Your car’s tire performance is essential to both its safety and its efficiency. Tires eventually lose traction and braking ability, and should be replaced when necessary. When your tires are in tip-top shape, they ensure that you stay safe behind the wheel.
Here’s how to determine if you need to replace your tires:
Inspect tread wear bars. These are small bridges that form between your treads. If you look at your tread pattern and notice the beginnings of these bars starting to form between the treads or running across the tires, and then become flush with the tires’ tread, you should replace your tires.
Conduct the penny test by placing the coin upside down with Lincoln facing you in the center of the tread.
- If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head or the metal above it, replace your tires immediately.
- If Lincoln’s hair is partially visible, start comparing tire prices, as you will need new ones soon.
- If you cannot see the top of Lincoln’s hair (tire tread should be as deep as his forehead), your tires do not need replacing yet.
Consider these things when maintaining your tires:
- Rotate your tires from the front to the rear in pairs.
- If you drive a four-wheel drive or all-wheel drive vehicle, replace all four tires when it is recommended in your service manual. The differences in tire diameter can cause permanent damage in your differentials if you do not do so.
- If you notice uneven wear on your front tires, your front end may be out of alignment. Have them checked and rotate your tires to the rear of the vehicle. This should correct the problem.
- Since tires do not wear evenly, perform the penny test at several points from the outside to the inside of the tires. Generally, tires will wear more on the inside, but over-inflated tires will wear more in the middle.
- Test and replace your tires at the same time. If you drive with mismatched tires, you will not have the level of safety, performance and efficiency that a matched pair provides.
- Always keep your tires properly inflated.
If you notice that your tire wear is extremely uneven or that your tires have worn out much faster than you expected, visit a competent auto shop. They will check your suspension and make any necessary corrections before replacing your tires.
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