Are you one of the many drivers who never thinks about tires until they go flat? Through simple actions on your part, you can extend the life of your tires and determine when you need to buy new ones, helping you avoid the danger and inconvenience of flat tires. Easy ways to increase their lifespan are regular rotations at Molle Toyota (helping them to wear evenly), as well as regularly checking your tire pressure.

No matter how well you care for your tires, the time will come when you must replace them--your safety is at stake. Flat tires are obvious dangers, but even driving on worn tires will make your vehicle more difficult to control, especially in bad weather. If you're not sure when your tires need to be replaced, here are a few pointers to keep in mind.

Tread Depth

As tires roll over highways, the friction between them and the road wear down their treads. When tires have inadequate tread depth, they will not grip the road well and can lead to unsafe driving conditions, especially in the rain. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration says the minimum safe depth of a tread is 2/32 inches. You may not have a ruler handy to measure your tread, but a simple technique makes checking your treads easy.

Take a penny and insert it into the tread groove with Lincoln’s head pointed downward toward the center of the wheel, facing outward. If you can see Lincoln’s forehead, the tire still has useful life. If you can see Lincoln’s hair on top of his head, you will soon need a replacement. Finally, if you can see the top of Lincoln’s head or the empty space above it, you should replace the tire as soon as possible.

Wear Indicators

In the United States, tires have wear bars that provide a visual signal when they need replacement. Wear bars are shorter than healthy treads, so they are not noticeable to most drivers. When treads wear, the wear bars become visible. They look like bridges across the tread grooves. When this happens you need to buy new tires. Some drivers have trouble identifying wear bars at first, so if you can’t see them on your tires, ask a service technician at Molle Toyota to show you.

Age

Tires lose their integrity with age. Heat, sunlight, chemicals from the road, and gases from the air cause tires to corrode and oxidize, making them unsafe for use. This problem can especially affect spare tires which often sit in trunks unnoticed and unused for prolonged periods. Develop a replacement plan for any cars you own that get little use and for your spare tires. Tires wear at different rates depending on how often the car is driven and how many miles are put on it each year, so there is no exact time frame for tire replacement.

Other Signs of Wear 

Not all tires wear evenly, so motorists should periodically inspect every part of their tires. Look for uneven wear and flat spots on the edge of the tread. Replace tires that bulge on the sides. Visible wires signal that a tire has gone too far. The wires you see come from the metal belts that strengthen tires; manufacturers do not intend for this part of a tire to contact the road.


To avoid problems with your tires, inspect them regularly or have Molle Toyota inspect them anytime you come in for a service appointment. Try adding a reminder to your task list, calendar, or schedule to make sure your tires never leave you stranded or put you/your vehicle in danger.