When to Replace Tires
Not to oversimplify things, but there are more than a few symptoms that could lead you to believe your current tires are ready to be replaced, even if they aren’t balding or old. We’re talking beyond the obvious, even if your current tires are looking a little worn, cracked or even flat.
Here you’ll find a breakdown of some of the more common (and uncommon) reasons we recommend you replace your tires, including how often you should depending on how you drive and how long certain tires are designed to last.
Reasons to replace tires:
Irregular tread wear
If one tire appears to be wearing down faster than others, a few things could be causing it. The most likely culprit is that your vehicle is out of alignment, but a worn shock or strut or a damaged piece of your vehicle’s exterior rubbing on a tire as you drive could also cause one tire to wear down quicker than the others.
Short of having the issue taken care of at an auto repair shop that offers alignment and suspension services, this is also a problem that can be mitigated with regular tire rotations.
Ignoring uneven tire wear for too long can increase the chance of degraded performance and ride comfort, hydroplaning, and risk of accident along with the possibility of having a blowout at highway speeds.
Bulging and bubbling tires
Tires that bubble and bulge, (generally around the sidewall) are indicative of several possibilities. A defect from the factory it was manufactured at to it being damaged between when it was shipped and installed are all things we watch out for before installing any tire, but even the more incidental things such as hitting an object in the middle of the road or driving over a curb or pothole can all cause this kind of damage to your tires.
If there’s a positive in this situation, it’s that you’ll likely notice fairly immediately once the deformity develops. As a bulge in a tire grows, it will have a detrimental effect on your ride comfort overall. Over time your vehicle will develop a rattling and shaking ride that is going to be pretty difficult to ignore.
Just because you don’t drive much doesn’t mean you’re not going to eventually need new tires. While most manufacturers offer warranties based on the type of tire that generally cover certain mileage targets, (such as 40,000 or 60,000 miles) the tires on your garaged classic will still need to be changed at some point.
How often? We suggest at least every 6 years, even under the most minimal use. This ensures your tires haven’t degraded without your knowledge, especially if you’re out on a Saturday cruise or on the way to a show.
And if you’re splitting your time between summer and winter tires as the seasons change you’ll still want to stick to this, even if you’re storing your tires correctly.
It almost goes without saying, but if you put a lot of miles on your tires they’re going to need to be replaced at a faster rate than normal. Whether they’re all-season or all-terrain, ultra-high performance summer tires or severe-duty winter/snow tires, there’s always going to be a time when a set of tires simply shouldn’t be driven on.
A couple things worth bearing in mind when you’re looking at new tires based on the mileage of your current tires are:
- Any mileage-based warranties
- Consumer reviews
- Your driving style
- The road and weather conditions on your commute
While a good warranty and positive consumer feedback can help back up your decision, it’s well worth noting that certain types of tires can wear down far quicker than others. Generally, sportier tires with soft compounds that grip better will wear faster than regular passenger tires, especially over rough roadway.
Tires exposed to the elements
Similar to how prolonged exposure to the sun can dry out and damage your skin, if a vehicle is stored outside and rarely driven, its tires can begin to crack or experience dry rot. Generally caused by prolonged exposure to UV rays, extremely high and low temperatures combined with long time periods without use can all contribute to tire dry rot.
While the bad news is that dry rot in tires isn’t something that can be repaired, opting for higher-quality tires when you replace the old ones generally will make them more resistant to rotting out in the future.
This one might be even more of a no-brainer, but doing burnouts, trying to drift and generally driving aggressively both on and off-road are all going to take a toll on your tires. If you recognize that this is the way you drive, it shouldn’t be any kind of huge shock that you’ll need new rubber faster than you might normally – but keeping a constant eye on your air pressure and tire rotation intervals can mitigate the need for new tires as much as possible.
Regardless, because of the softer rubber compounds found in competition, performance, and summer tires, even fairly normal driving will still wear these kind of tires down faster than your average passenger tire.
No matter the circumstance, replacing your tires before they get to any of the above points is a great way to save yourself from expensive repair costs and overall inconvenience if you have a flat, blowout, or even from getting in an accident because you weren’t able to stop quickly enough on old tires.
And if you ever have questions about when to replace your tires or their current condition, feel free to stop by or call your local America's Tire location for help.