Your car's tires play a major role in keeping you safe when you're behind the wheel, and they need to be able to maintain adequate traction. If your tires are worn or damaged, it will make it more difficult for you to control the vehicle when you're driving. It's important to keep an eye out for wear and tear and change your tires when necessary.
How to Tell If You Need New Tires
Tires rely on their tread to keep them safely connected to the pavement. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), when a tire's groove depth wears down to 2/32 inches , it becomes unsafe for use. Many people choose to replace their tires long before they wear down to this level. An easy way to check the groove depth is to do what's called a penny test. Using a penny, slide Lincoln's head scalp-first into your tire's groove. If all of Lincoln's head remains visible, you have less than 2/32 inches in the groove, and your tires should be replaced immediately.
When to Replace Tires: Tread Depth (MM) Considerations
When it's new, a tire's groove depth typically measures 8 or 9 mm. This translates into 10/32 to 11/32 inches. Once the depth gets below 1.6 mm (2/32 inches), the car's braking ability will be impaired. Also, if the tire is in this condition, it will negatively impact your ability to maintain control of the vehicle when you're on the road.
A tire whose groove depth measures between 9 and 6 mm is generally recognized to be in excellent shape. Once the depth wears down to between 5 and 4 mm, the tire is viewed as being in passable condition. A tire whose depth measures 3 mm should be inspected monthly.
How Many Years Do Tires Last?
Wondering how often to replace tires? Years matter when it comes to your tires, and older tires will need to be swapped out for new ones. On average, tires last up to six years, but a lot will depend on your driving habits and the climate in which you live. If you put a lot of mileage on your car and drive in weather that's very hot or very cold, you may need to replace your tires before they get to the six-year mark. It's a good idea to regularly inspect your tires during the first few years of ownership, keeping an eye out for wear.
When Do Tires Expire?
Auto manufacturers such as Ford recommend that you replace your car's tires once they reach six years of age, even if the tire is still in good shape. Tire manufacturers such as Continental say that a tire can be used safely for up to 10 years if it's in good condition. Continental states that once they hit the 10-year mark, all tires (including spares) should be replaced with new ones.
How Many Miles Should Tires Last on a Truck?
The original tires on your truck should last at least 50,000 miles when the vehicle is used in normal driving conditions. Road conditions play a role in the tire's life expectancy; driving on gravel or dirt roads causes more wear than driving on smooth, paved surfaces. Also, aggressive driving -- driving that includes fast starts and braking that's sudden and sharp -- may cause your tires to wear prematurely.
Can I Replace Just One Tire on My AWD Vehicle?
When it comes to the tires on your AWD vehicle, it's not a good idea to replace just one or two; the best approach is to replace all four at the same time, even if some of these tires show less sign of wear than others. A new tire has a larger diameter than the exact same tire that's halfway through its tread life. If you replace some but not all the car's tires, this difference in tire size could negatively impact your car's performance. It could place undue strain on your vehicle's drivetrain. It could also mislead the traction control system, causing it to believe that your vehicle is frequently suffering from a loss of traction.
How Long Does It Take to Change a Tire?
If you're changing a tire on your own, it can take anywhere from 30-45 minutes to complete the task, depending on your level of experience. If you'd rather not get your hands dirty, you have the option of getting the tire changed at a tire shop. If you go this route, changing your tire can take 45 minutes or less, depending on the tire shop's volume of customers.