How to Tell When Your Tires Are Worn Out

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The first indication that your tires are worn out will be a low tread depth which is below 2/32″.

It’s important to know when your tires are worn out and need to be replaced. Tires are one of the most important components of a vehicle, and it is important to regularly check them for signs of wear. A worn out tire can be dangerous as it will no longer perform as it should, especially in wet weather.

In this article, we will discuss some of the signs that indicate that your tires are worn out and when it’s time for a new set of tires. We’ll also provide some tips on how to prolong the life of your current tires.

Tread depth will be less than 2/32″

The first indication that your tires are worn out will be a low tread depth.

All tires have wear bars built into them between the tire tread. These wear bars are moulded into every tire and they show the minimum depth that the tire tread needs to be in order to be legal and safe on any vehicle. When the tread is has been worn away and is level with these bars, it is time to replace the tire.

Another way to check the tread depth of your tires is with the penny or quarter test. Take a penny and insert it into the tread, with Lincoln’s head upside down. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head, then the tread depth is less than the legal limit of 2/32″ and you will need to replace your tires.

If you cannot see any of Lincoln’s head, then your tread depth is legal.

You can also use a tread depth gauge, which is a tool that can be purchased at most auto parts stores. This will measure the amount of tread depth left on your tire.

It is also important to check the tread depth at multiple points on the tire to ensure that your tire hasn’t suffered from any excessive wear of flat spots in one particular area of the tire.

Tire is over 6 years old

When tires are 6 years old and over, the rubber compound begins to break down and they become less pliable. This is why tires are said to expire after 6 years. This is due to the natural ageing of the materials and also the number of heat cycles that the tires will have been through.

This ageing causes cracking in the tire and shows that the tire is no longer able to provide the same level of grip. It is a common indicator that tires are worn out.

Some tires may last longer than 6 years with regular care and maintenance, especially if the tire is not driven on very frequently. However it is still recommended that you replace your tires every six years, even if they still have tread remaining.

If you are unsure of how old your tires are, you can find the date of manufacture on the sidewall of the tire. The date is represented by four digits. The first two digits represent the week of production and the last two digits represent the year.

For example, a tire with a date code of 1722 was manufactured in the 17th week of 2022.

Poor general tire condition

Even if your tires still have tread remaining and are within the six-year mark, it is important to regularly check the condition of your tires. If you notice any visible damage such as cords or tire material showing, dry rot, bulges or cuts in the sidewall of the tire, it is important that this tire is replaced as soon as possible.

It is also important to check the pressure of your tires regularly. Tires can lose pressure for a variety of reasons, such as a puncture or simply due to the temperature changes. If you notice that your tires are frequently low on pressure, it could be an indication of a slow leak and you should take your vehicle to a mechanic to have it checked out.

Tire and vehicle performance decreases

If you notice that your vehicle isn’t handling as well as it used to or that the ride is less comfortable, it is normally an indication that your tires are worn out and that they have gone bad. Worn out tires will not provide the same level of grip and stability as new tires and this can lead to decreased performance when braking, accelerating or cornering.

Worn out tires will also begin to perform much more unpredictably in the rain. In wet weather, water is channeled away from the contact patch between the tire and the road thought the grooves in the tire tread.

As the tread wears away, the water is unable to escape and the tire will begin to slide on the surface of the water in a dangerous manner called hydroplaning.

Worn tires are far more prone to hydroplaning

Increase in fuel consumption

You may also notice an increase in fuel consumption as worn out tires are less efficient. This is because worn out tires have a higher amount of rolling resistance, especially as worn out tires are typically older and the older rubber also contributes towards this.

If you notice your cars mpg decrease or that you need to fill up with gas more often, this could be the symptom of bad tires.

Other signs that a tire needs to be replaced

Uneven tire wear

There are a number of other signs that can indicate that one of your tires are worn out. If you notice your vehicle pulling to one side or vibrating when driving, this could be an indication that your tires are unbalanced or out of alignment. This should be rectified by a mechanic as soon as possible.

If it is caught early on, you should be able to rectify the issue without needing to replace the tire. If it is left for an extended period of time, the tire is likely to wear unevenly due to the bad alignment and will eventually reach a point where the tire wear pattern will be excessively worn and the tire will need replacing.

Loud noises coming from the tires

If you hear a loud noise coming from the tires while driving, this is usually an indication that the tread is worn and the tire is beginning to fail. This can be extremely dangerous and you should pull over and replace the tire as soon as possible.

Tires can fail in numerous ways and if you are in any doubt, it is always best to err on the side of caution and stop before an accident occurs.

It is important to regularly check your tires to ensure that they are in good condition and safe to use. By ensuring to stick to your vehicles yearly scheduled maintenance and perform basic visual inspections before any long trips, you can help to avoid any issues with your tires.

If you are unsure about anything, it is always best to consult with a professional.

Previous improper tire repairs

If a tire has been repaired previously, it is important to ensure that this was done correctly. A tire that has been improperly repaired is more likely to fail in the future and can be extremely dangerous. For example, punctures are only able to be repaired if they occur in the centre main tread of the tire.

If it occurs in the sidewall, the tire is irreparable and must be replaced. If you are unsure about a previous repair, it is best to check with your local garage first before replacing the tire.

Damage to the tire sidewall is irreparable

Risks of driving on worn out tires

It is not advisable to drive on tires that are worn out as they can be a safety hazard. Worn out tires will provide much less grip to the road than new tires, making them a serious safety risk.

This is especially true in wet weather with the dangers of hydroplaning making controlling the vehicle extremely difficult. This can often happen at high speeds and can be very dangerous.

Worn out tires can also cause your vehicle to lose traction on the road, making it more difficult to brake and turn. It will also increase your stopping distance, especially if you need to perform an emergency stop.

This makes your vehicle much more likely to be involved in an accident. Your tires are your only point of contact between the vehicle and the road, and no matter how good a vehicle is, improper tires will make driving the vehicle dangerous.

Tires that are worn out, damaged or much older than 6 years old, may also suffer a total failure or blowout whist on the road. This is the most dangerous outcome and often leads to a major accident and potentially a loss of life. This is why it is important to make sure your tires are fit for purpose.

How to prolong the life of your tires

There are a number of things that you can do to prolong the life of your tires and ensure that they remain in good condition for as long as possible.

Correct tire pressure

Firstly, it is important to ensure that your tires are inflated to the correct pressure. This can be found in your vehicle’s handbook or on a sticker inside the driver’s door frame. Under inflated tires will wear out much quicker than those that are properly inflated.

It is also important to ensure that your tires are not overinflated. This can cause the center of the tread to wear out much quicker than the sides. This will lead to an uneven wear pattern and will eventually result in the tire needing to be replaced.

Wheel alignment and balance

Another way to prolong the life of your tires is to ensure that your wheels are properly aligned and balanced. This can be done at your local garage and will help to ensure that your tires wear evenly. Unevenly worn tires will need to be replaced much sooner than those that are properly aligned.

Drive smoothly

The way that you drive is one of the largest factors that affect the lifespan of your tires. Sudden braking and acceleration will cause your tires to wear out much quicker than if you were to drive smoothly.

This is because sudden braking and harsh acceleration make your tires have to work harder and increase the wear on them significantly.

Avoid Driving over rough terrain

Another factor that can affect the lifespan of your tires is driving over rough terrain. This can cause punctures, cracks, and chips in your tires which will eventually lead to them needing to be replaced.

If you do need to drive over rough terrain, it is best to avoid any large rocks or holes as these can cause major damage to your tires.

Rotate your tires

Rotating your tires on a regular basis is another way to stop your tires from wearing out prematurely. This helps to ensure that they all wear evenly and helps to prolong their life. Your local garage will offer a tire rotation service for you or you can do it yourself if you have the right tools.

Clean your tires

It is also important to keep your tires clean. This helps to remove any build-up of dirt and debris that can lead to premature wear. You can clean your tires yourself with a brush and some soapy water.

Applying a tire shine / dressing will help to stop the tires from drying out prematurely and protect them from the suns UV rays which is shown to age tires prematurely.

Give your tires a visual inspection

It is also important to give your tires a visual inspection on a regular basis. This includes looking for any nails or other objects that may be embedded in the tread, as well as checking for any cracks or bulges in the sidewall. These can all lead to serious problems and should be dealt with as soon as possible.

Knowing when your tires are worn out

If you take care of your tires, they should last you a long time. Some tires are available with mileage warranties of up to 100,000km. However, it is important to be aware of the signs that indicate when it is time for a new set of tires. By following this guide, you will be able to spot the signs that your tires are worn out and need to be replaced.

We hope you enjoyed this article and found it informative. If you have any questions then please leave a comment below or get in touch via email or through social media and we will read and respond to every comment, email or question. Thanks for reading!

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2 thoughts on “How to Tell When Your Tires Are Worn Out”

  1. It did catch my attention when you said that your tires could suffer from blowout whilst on the road when they are older than 6 years old or damaged. With this in mind, I will shop for new tires for the Nissan sedan that my husband asked me to drive moving forward. Its tires have been installed for over 4 years now, and they have signs of cracks.

    Reply
  2. I noticed that I’ve been having trouble driving my pickup truck whenever it rains, so I assume there must be something wrong with my tires. I appreciate you letting us know that worn-out tires don’t provide the same level of grip and stability as new tires, so their performance will certainly decrease. I’ll be sure to get my truck tires replaced before it leads to accidents on the road.

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