Tires shouldn't be complicated. It doesn't take a mechanic to figure out when your vehicle is in need of a proper tire replacement. It's more a matter of not taking your tires for granted--you've got to keep them maintained, and you have to know when a tire's time is up. So what exactly do you have to watch out for? You don't want to end up stuck on the side of the road or, worse, in the middle of an accident.
Fortunately, the people at Michelin have sent us a useful list of five signs that could indicate if you already need a new tire or two.
Tire punctures. Check your tires for punctures. If you come across any, be sure to replace the affected tire with a spare before heading out of your driveway as it's never a safe idea to run on a damaged tire. Bring the punctured one to a tire specialist for a proper diagnosis. Oh, and always make sure that your spare tire is fully inflated and in proper driving condition.
Worn-out tire treads. Michelin recommends a tire change once a tire's tread depth reaches 1.6mm. You can bring your tire to a specialist, or in the case of Michelin tires, you can check the tread wear indicators at the base of the grooves to inspect the correct depth. The treads keep your vehicle planted on the road, so don't take them for granted.
Damaged sidewalls. Put simply, the sidewall is the side of the tire. These can be damaged when you hit curbs while turning, or any other objects or obstacles for that matter. Damaged sidewalls can affect the tire pressure, leading to a less fuel-efficient drive. If you see any sidewall damage, have your tire checked immediately.
Abnormal wear. If you ever notice one of your tires wearing out faster than the rest, you might want to have your wheel alignment or tire pressure checked. Be sure that newly mounted tires are correctly balanced for a smoother ride and longer tire life. Abnormal tire wear can be caused by damage within the tire, so have your tires checked by a specialist in such a case.
Aging. Know when your tire's lifespan is up. Have your vehicle's tires checked every once in a while despite the lack of visible damage. Treads must always be visible. Do not risk driving out on old or worn-out tires as they can affect braking distance. Michelin recommends a tire replacement 10 years after the manufacture date. Never mind the cost--it's always better to be safe than sorry.
Also, always be sure to pick out the correct tire type and size, depending on function. It's not only safer, it also contributes to a smoother, more efficient driving experience. You can find your correct tire specifications in your vehicle's user manual. If you're still unsure about the condition of your tires even after following the steps above, bring them over to a specialist for a checkup.
Photo from Michelin