Quality tires are an essential part of a safe, good-running automobile. They determine your car’s traction, braking abilities, handling, and stability. Naturally, over time tires need to be replaced. It’s not a sign of bad driving or misuse, but instead an inevitable part of owning a car. Though it’s hard to say exactly how long your tires will last, there are signs that indicate it’s time to replace your old tires. And when it comes to putting on new tires, it’s better to do it on your own accord and not after having a sudden tire failure while driving down the highway.

At Road Runner Tire Shop, it’s our goal to provide you with the tire knowledge and services to keep you safe. Located in Kearny, NJ, we are New Jersey’s Top Rated® Local Truck & Car Tire Shop. We sell both new and used tires and wheels, as well as fix flats, perform DOT inspections, diagnostics, balancing, and roadside assistance.

Read on to learn about some of the indications that it’s time to replace your old tires.

Try the Penny Test

One easy way to determine the health of your tires is to perform the penny test. To do this simply take a penny and place it head first in between your tire’s tread grooves. If you can see the top of Honest Abe’s head, your tread is dangerously shallow and should be replaced. However, if you can see the top of Lincoln’s head you have some tread remaining—roughly 2/32 of an inch to be (somewhat) exact.

Examine Treadwear Patterns

In addition to the penny test, you should also inspect the tread. The main reason why you should be concerned about your tread is your safety. Good tread allows your car to grip the road better. With worn tread, it can be difficult and, therefore, dangerous, to drive and steer in adverse weather conditions like snow and rain. Not only can worn tread make other parts of your car wear out prematurely, but in some states, you can even be fined for having an insufficient amount of tread.  

Additionally, if you have newer tires you can look for the tread wear indicator bar that is built into most new tires. If you can see this bar, it’s likely time for a tire replacement. Pay your local tire shop a visit.

Look at the Sidewall

Wear and tear is not just noticeable with the tread, it can also be seen on the sidewall. If you spot cracks along the sidewall of your tires, this is a sign that your tires could develop a leak and should, therefore, be replaced soon. Additionally, when inspecting your sidewalls look for any bulges and blisters. These can appear when the surface of a tire begins to weaken, and when this happens your tires are especially susceptible to a blowout.

Be Aware of Excessive Vibration

If you’ve owned your car for a while, you are likely familiar with how it drives and how much vibration is normal. If you notice an unusual amount of vibration—that isn’t because of road conditions— you may need a tire alignment or balancing. If your tires are unbalanced or misaligned, this could mean you have a suspension problem or it could also mean that your tires need to be replaced. To help sniff out the source of the problem, take your car to your trusted tire shop.

Determine The Tire Age

How old are your tires? Most industry guidelines suggest changing tires every six years. However, most tires don’t reach this age. Typically, tires last for around three to four years or around 15,000 miles. Check your manufacturer’s suggestions and be sure to consult with your local tire repair shop to determine if your tires and wheels still have some life left.

When inspecting your tires to determine whether they need to be replaced, you want to try the penny test, look at treadwear and sidewall condition, and be cognizant of their age and any unusual vibrations. If you are unsure about your assessment—or you are too busy or feel better leaving it to professionals—bring your car into the Road Runner Tire Shop, and we’ll ensure your tires and wheels are in good condition.