Friday, March 18, 2016

Know When to Replace Your Tires

The lifespan of tires varies depending on so many factors, making it hard to tell exactly how long your tires will last. Things like your driving habits, the climate, road conditions and care all influence how well your tires perform. The basic rules for tire lifespan is that your tires should be inspected regularly after five years of use and that tires should last for a maximum of ten years. Even if your tires appear to be in great condition after ten years, there is still concern about the performance of these tires. With tires, proper care can extend the lifespan tremendously. Proper care includes maintaining correct air pressure, regular tire rotation and good vehicle maintenance.

The manufacturing date of your tires is the DOT number on the sidewall of the tires. This manufacturing date is a great guide as to when you should have your tires inspected regularly or replaced.

One of the oldest tricks in the book is using a Lincoln penny in the tread grove of your tire to see the level of wearing. According to this tread depth check, your tires are still legal if the top of Abe’s head is obscured by the thread. When you can see the part of the penny above Abe’s head, then you are ready for new tires as this will be about 2/32” of the remaining depth in the treads, which is not safe for driving in adverse conditions such as slush and snow.

Unfortunately, it is not that simple when it comes to tire maintenance and replacement. Tires often do not need so much tread depth for traction on dry roads. You have probably seen the slick tires used by racers that do not have any treads at all. But tires require tread designs and depth for traction on wet and slushy roads. This is because the water depth, vehicle speed and weigh, tread design and depth all determine how fast your tires can stop your car.

If wet roads, rain and snow are a concern for your regular driving conditions, you should replace your tires at 4/32” tread depth. Studies have shown that worn tires sacrifice a lot of wet traction. With the typical speed limit of 70mph, vehicles that have tires with the minimum 2/32” of tread depth take about 100 more feet to stop compared to vehicles with the 4/32” tread depth. This shows just how dangerous it is driving in these conditions with a worn out tire. The water on the road cannot be compressed; tread depth is what allows the water to escape through the groves in the tires. Your vehicle looses traction when the water cannot escape fast enough and the tires are forced to hydroplane on the water surface.

It even gets worse on snow-covered roads and a minimum tread depth of 5/32” is recommended for driving in such conditions. You need more room to compress the snow in the grooves and release it as the tires roll. 

Posted By: Crawfordville Automotive