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How Can You Tell When to Replace the Tires? Is It the Time for New Tires?

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Here are some of the tips to help you answer the question, “how can you tell when to replace the tires?”

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  • Check the tire tread depth using the penny test or a tire depth indicator
  • Watch for any abnormal irregular damage
  • Read the age of your tire
  • Check the tires after exposure to extreme conditions

Your vehicle's tires are critical components as they have to do a lot with your safety. If the tires are not in good condition, it's very easy for your car to lose its efficiency and put your life at risk, especially for driving in the winter season.

Over time of use, the tires will wear out, requiring replacement. The question always remains, “how can you tell when to replace the tires?” The good news is that you don't have to reach out to a mechanic or a professional to determine when to replace your vehicle's tires. This article walks you through some tips to help you determine the tire replacement due date.

How can you tell when to replace the tires?

Learning about “how can you tell when to replace the tires?” is essential for any driver to prevent dealing with safety issues and reduce vehicle efficiency. To examine the tires, you have a couple of things to look into: the tire tread, the tire age, irregular damages, and exposure to extreme conditions.

1.    The tire tread

The tire tread is the first and most important item you must check to confirm that you need new tires. The tire tread is extremely important because it helps water divert away from the vehicle and prevents any issues with hydroplaning. Here are the steps you need to do to check on the trail tread and determine whether you must replace the tires now or not:

Understand your region's tire tread threshold

Did you know that the tire tread has to do with legal issues? Yes! Depending on the tire depth, you might not be able to drive your car legally. The tire tread threshold depends heavily on your region. For example, in the United States, you are not allowed to drive a vehicle, which has a tire tread less than 1/16 of an inch. On the other hand, the situation is slightly different because once your tire tread reaches 0.0456 interest, it is considered worn out, and you should not drive this. Unfortunately, we can't tell you to replace the tire.

That's why you need to confirm with your region and understand the tire tread threshold. Then, you can either go to the local website of your Department of Transportation or probably give them a call or visit them to get an idea.

Check the tread wear bar

In any tires created in the United States, some specific tread wear bars help you determine when it's time to replace the tires of your vehicle. These bars are horizontal bridges between different treads, and once the thread wears out to the point where it is even with we are bars, it is time to replace the tires.

Once the tread becomes even with these bars, it indicates that the tire is completely worn out, and the tired death is only 2/32 of an inch, which is much smaller than the US legal threshold.

Perform the penny test

If you are still struggling with “how can you tell when to replace tires?” You can rely on the penny test. This test is very simple, and all it takes is inserting a penny inside your vehicle's tires threads. Then, watch how much of a penny is still outside the tires to confirm the depth of the tire.

Typically, if you realize that the Lincoln head is completely outside of the tire tread, it indicates that your tires are due for replacement because the tread depth is not enough to keep you safe and prevent driving troubles issues.

Use a tread depth indicator

Finally, if you're looking for accurate measurements of the current tread depth, you can rely on the tread depth indicator. This is a small tool that provides you with accurate measurements of the tread depth.

All you must do is insert the indicator inside one of the vehicle's treads and read the measurement. As we read the measurements, make sure that you do not touch the probe to avoid missing the reading. Once you take one measurement, go ahead and take more measurements about 15 inches apart from each other.

Once you have all measurements, you can average them to get an idea about the average tread depth in your tire. If you notice that the chart depth is close to 2/32 of an inch, you must immediately replace the tires.

Automotive experts recommend repeating the measurements along the inner and outer trends in your tires to get an accurate understanding of the tire wear and tear severity.

2.    The tire age

Did you know that the age of your tire can help you determine when to replace the tires? Yes, most automotive experts recommend replacing the tires once it gets at six years old. However, many manufacturers have good tires and recommend replacing the tires only after ten years.

Therefore, we recommend that you go through your vehicle's owner’s manual and get an idea about when to replace your vehicle’s tires even if you don't see the significant tear and wear. If you don't have a copy of your vehicle’s manual, you can look at the four-digit code on the wall of your vehicle's tires because it gives an idea about how old it is.

Typically, the four-digit codes on the tires represent two important formations: the first two digits indicate the week the tires were made, and the 2nd two digits refer to the year the tires were made.

Keep in mind that your tire age it's very helpful, but it might not be the best indicator, especially if you don't drive your car frequently. In other words, you might have had your vehicle for 15 years now, and the tires are still in good condition because you don't drive as much. Thus, we recommend that you go through all the mentioned recommendations in this list to know when is the right time to replace your vehicle's tires.

3.    Irregular damages

Sometimes you might not need to wait to check the vehicle's tires threads or monitor the tire's age. However, there are conditions where you notice some irregular damages or different weird wear and tear between the different tires. Therefore, when you notice such a thing, it is recommended that you consult your mechanic and have him perform a detailed inspection to determine the issue.

It could be a problem with the suspension system or the alignments causing the tires to wear and tear differently. That's why your mechanic might decide to rotate the tires or replace them if the issue is severe. However, you mustn't wait on the weird irregular damages long because they might impact other systems in your vehicle and significantly affect your vehicle's fuel economy.

Some weird irregular damages might be Bubbles on the vehicle’s sidewall. When that happens, it is important that you immediately have the tire inspected before dealing with safety issues. For example, the bubbles might develop due to a problem with running through potholes or probably other road obstructions that impact your tires.

4.    Exposure to severe conditions

Finally, if you notice that your vehicle was exposed to extreme weather conditions, it can easily damage the tires prematurely. For example, extreme hot or cold conditions might cause the tires to break because of the continuous expansion and contractions, and that's when you must replace them.

Should I replace one tire at a time?

Unfortunately, if your vehicle has major irregular damages in one tire, not the other has, you might need to replace the four tires depending on your vehicle system. However, your car might have a specific system that allows you only to replace two tires on the same axle.

You must follow the recommendations in your vehicle's owner’s manual to know whether to replace one tire at a time or replace the four tires. The main concept behind replacing more than one tire is to maintain the same balance and the same vehicle height when installing a new tire.

Imagine as you put a new tire that might have different heights than the rest of the tires; what will happen to the suspension system? A lot of the internal components closer to the suspension system might get impacted, which means that to save on installing a second-tier, you caused different problems that might cost thousands of dollars to get fixed.

That's why it's extremely important to monitor and inspect your vehicle's tires regularly. If one tire goes bad, it could be a problem with an alignment or something else. The earlier the tech problems, the easier it is for you and the less money you must pay on labor and repair costs.

How much To pay for new tires?

Installing new tires is one of those car repairs that doesn't have a specific number at it varies significantly depending on your vehicle's make, model, and year. However, you might expect to pay somewhere between $100 and $300 per tire. Keep in mind that you might not need to install one tire only, which means that you must multiply the number by either two or four depending on your vehicle system.

When shopping for new tires, you must not go with the cheapest ones because the lower the quality, the worse it is for your vehicle. In fact, you cannot go with a significantly new tire that is different than the other tires on your vehicle. This is because all tires come with a specific size, and you cannot install a tire with a different depth because this could impact the performance of the vehicle and caused damages to other components.

Keep in mind that tire placement involves labor costs, which means that in addition to the parts costs, you will have to add how much time the labor takes to install a new tire and where you are going to do the job. That's why choosing a small independent shop will cost you fewer labor costs than going with a dealership. However, if you're driving a luxury car or an expensive vehicle, you might want to pay extra to ensure that the tires are installed correctly without any mistakes that could impact the other systems.


Your vehicle tires are one of the most critical components that you need to have working properly all the time. This becomes extremely important when you drive on rough or irregular terrains.

Understanding “how can you tell when to replace tires?” is one of the first questions that you need to ask yourself all the time to prevent dealing with safety issues related to the tires. This article walked you through some tips and tricks that you can follow to check on the tires to confirm when replacing them. These tricks include the penny test, the tread depth indicator, watching for abnormal damage, and reading through the tire’s age.

Once you confirm that these tires are no longer effective, you must immediately replace them. However, if your vehicle has major mechanical problems, it may not be worth your investment replacing the tires because if you add up the total repair costs, it might be close to your vehicle's value here. When that happens, you recommend it sell your car and use its money towards a better vehicle that doesn't have any problem and probably has better tires.

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