How To Tell If You Need New Tires

Your car is only as safe as its tires. It’s an old saying, but one that you should repeat over and over as a sort of religious mantra. When tires become worn, your car, truck, or SUV becomes much more of a liability, especially at high speeds or when traveling over uneven surfaces. Tires are designed with specific tread patterns to increase friction and also to provide better spreading out of the pressure put on them. How do you know if your tires are becoming worn? Here are three signs to check for.

Tread Thickness

The rubber your vehicle’s tires are made of is tough and can handle extreme heat produced by friction when the rubber meets the pavement. However, the tread does eventually become thinner. Take the penny test. Insert a penny with Lincoln’s head upside down into the tread. If you can see to the top of his head, your tread is wearing thin, and it’s time to replace the tires. This critical thickness is 1/16 of an inch. When you perform this test, be sure also to move the car forward and back just a bit so that you can see the entire tread. Look for strange tread patterns such as a smooth center of the tread or a polished, worn-down look along the edges.

Sidewall Cracks And Bulges

The sidewall of the tire doesn’t meet the road surface, so it wears out much more slowly. However, if there’s a problem with the overall integrity of the rubber, this is the place where signs of trouble are most commonly visible. If the sidewall has a weird cut or groove, something is definitely wrong with the tire strength. Remember, your tire is supporting one-fourth of the entire weight of the vehicle, and this puts outward pressure on the sidewall. A crack in the sidewall also means that a slow leak is already occurring or soon will be. Bulges should be taken seriously. If your sidewall has one, put on the spare and get to the service center immediately.

Road Vibration

If your car begins to shake when approaching 60 mph, it usually means that the tire is unbalanced. The tires may also be misaligned. Although this doesn’t mean the tire itself is damaged, continued driving with this alignment or balance problem will very quickly begin to affect the tread patterns. At high speed, it can cause stress along the edge of the tires, resulting in a blowout. Unbalance tires can be fixed in a jiffy, but don’t wait to get the problem corrected.

If you suspect something is wrong with your tires or your wheel alignment, come on down to the Pohanka Acura service center today. A quick diagnosis of the problem will save money — and possibly heartache — tomorrow.


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