Not only are your tires one of the most essential components of your vehicle, they also wear down the most. Depending on how many miles you’re putting on your vehicle every year and what kind of surfaces you’re driving on, tire wear can vary greatly. There are a few common-sense rules to follow to ensure your tires last however long possible.
At Braman Honda of Palm Beach, we want our customers to be safe. That’s why we put together this article. So, drivers not only know how often they should change their tires, but they’ll learn a few simple maintenance habits to guarantee longevity.
Even if you’re not putting many miles on your vehicle, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends that tires be changed every six years, or an average of 25,000 to 50,000 miles. However, if those tires are seeing more use, you’ll need to monitor your tread regularly.
The primary function of tread is to divert water from beneath the tire, which can prevent hydroplaning or skidding. When the tread has worn down to 1/16th of an inch, or 1.6 mm, water can no longer be diverted. To protect yourself, here’s a list of simple tricks for testing tread.
- The Penny Test: With Lincoln facing you, place a penny upside down in the center of the tread. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, your tires will need to be replaced immediately. If Lincoln’s hair is still partially visible, your tires may be okay, but it’s a good idea to begin shopping soon.
- Wear Bars: Between the tread lines in your tires, there are small grooves or bridges. If the tread has worn down far enough that it’s level with these bars, you’ll need to buy new tires.
- Tread Depth Gauge: These inexpensive tools can be purchased from your local automotive shop, or downloaded for free online, and are one of the most convenient indicators of tire wear.
Signs of Damage
Even if your tread isn’t worn down completely, they may still have sustained damage. Tire rubber can dry rot and crack over time, but other irregularities will form just from driving over potholes or curbs. These irregularities can in turn cause damage to wheel wells, suspension, or alignment. If your vehicle is misaligned, you might notice vibrations in your steering wheel. Also be wary of any sidewall bulges or bubbles you may see in the rubber. These irregularities could be a sign of structural damage.
There are a few simple maintenance habits every driver should form to elongate the lifespan of their tires. First and foremost, keeping your tires properly pressurized can avoid many problems. Consult your vehicle’s manual to learn what level of pressure is best for your tires, and be sure to check them once a month.
It’s recommended that tires should be rotated every 5,000 to 7,000 miles. If you’re changing your oil every 3,000 miles, ask to have your tires rotated every other oil change. Alignment can be checked at every service, too, and should be corrected at least once a year.
When your tires have finally worn down and must be changed, don’t forget to have them balanced after installation. Continue to have tires rebalanced every 3,000 to 6,000 miles to give them the longest life possible.
The Importance of Tire Maintenance
Without tires, your car isn’t going anywhere. If those tires aren’t healthy, you’ll be putting yourself and other drivers in danger. Be aware of your tires’ needs, and be sure to follow an annual maintenance schedule to keep your vehicle safe and strong.
If you’re a driver in the Boca Raton, Greenacres, or Palm Beach areas, don’t hesitate to make a service call if you believe your tires are worn down. At Braman Honda of Palm Beach, we’d be more than happy to look for you. Schedule a tire inspection today.