How Do I Know if My Tires Need to Be Replaced?

Vehicle maintenance is critical to the safety of you, your passengers, and other people on the road. One of the most important forms of vehicle maintenance is regular tire replacement – the condition of your tires directly impacts how your vehicle operates on the road. Worn down tires can lead to skidding, blowouts, and dangerous driving in poor weather conditions. In turn, poor tires can lead to accidents and harm others on the road.

Common Causes of Tire Wear and Tear

Certain environmental factors contribute to tire wear and tear. Often, these conditions are out of your control, which is why it is important to periodically check your tire tread for unsafe conditions.

Exposure to the elements can wear down a tire, specifically exposure to heat and the sun. This exposure can lead to structural breakdown in your tires, reducing your tire tread. In addition, the age of your tires affects your tread – most tire manufacturers recommend that you seek tire replacement after six years and at most ten years. Check your warranty or the manufacturer’s website for information on your specific tires.

Use the Penny Test to Check Your Tire Wear

An easy test to check the quality of your tire tread uses a penny. Grab any penny and rotate it so Lincoln’s head is facing upside down. Place the penny in your tire’s tread. If the tread covers part of Lincoln’s head, your tires are in good condition and you likely do not need a replacement. However, if the tread does not cover any portion of Lincoln’s head, you will need to replace your tires. Failure to cover Lincoln’s head means that your tire tread is worn down to a concerning point.

Look at Your Tires Daily

Many people simply forget to check their tires until it is too late. We often climb into our vehicles without glancing at our tires or giving them a second thought. Try to get into the habit of checking your tires daily – walk around your vehicle before getting into your car and check your tires for any of the following issues.

  • Punctures
  • Cracks
  • Abnormally severe wear and tear
  • Bulges
  • Underinflation
  • Misalignment wear

If you notice any of these conditions on your tires, take them in for replacement as soon as possible.

Check Your Tire Pressure

Improper tire pressure can also lead to dangerous driving conditions and increased accidents on the road. Make sure to check your tire pressure using a pressure gauge regularly, especially before driving long distances. Always make sure that air within your tires is even, without any soft or weak areas. Improper inflation can lead to several driving risks.

  • Tire failure and blowouts
  • Increased fuel consumption
  • Quicker tire tread wear

Rotate Your Tires Regularly

Your tires need regular rotation to avoid excessive wear on specific areas. As a rule, you should rotate your tires every 3,000 to 5,000 miles. This practice ensures that you get the optimal amount of handling, traction, and tire longevity. If you do not know when you last rotated your tires or you buy a vehicle secondhand, bring your vehicle to your local mechanic to evaluate your tire condition.

What Happens if Poor Tires Cause a Car Accident?

If you get into a car accident with a driver who fails to maintain and replace his or her tires, you can file an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit to recover compensation for your losses. You could recover funds for your medical expenses, property damages, lost income, and other related costs.

Immediately after the accident, call 911 to receive medical attention and a police report to use in your future claim. Assess the damage to your vehicle and to your passengers and other people involved in the crash. Exchange contact information with the other driver and any witnesses in the area. As soon as you are able, contact a car accident attorney to assist you with your claim.