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How do I know if I need new tires?

NewTires

Examining your tires for wear and tear, along with checking tire pressure and alignment, should be a frequent ritual in your car care routine. These practices maximize your vehicle's safety, improve gas mileage, and boost performance. The non-profit, Car Care Council recommends different procedures to ensure your tires are in tip-top shape when on the road.

Tips to Check Tire Safety: 

All tires sold in the United States today have tread wear bars. These are small raised bars of rubber in the grooves of your tire. The tread pattern contains these bars running perpendicular to the tread blocks. As your tires wear, these bars will become even with the tire's tread. When this happens, it's time to replace your tires.

The tread on your tires should never fall below 1/6 of an inch. To check and see if your tires are worn, use the penny to check if they're losing tread.

"The penny test is a simple, yet effective, way to check tire tread. If you see Lincoln's head above the tread, you are ready for new tires. Tires are critical to a vehicle's handling and traction, and maintaining proper pressure is vitally important to vehicle safety. Under-inflated tires are under stress and will wear unevenly, causing them to need to be replaced sooner. Routinely checking tire balance and wheel alignment reduces tire wear, improves handling, and increases fuel economy."

Rich White
Executive Director, Car Care Council

​In addition to the penny test, the Car Care Council provides vehicle owners with a variety of other methods to check their vehicle's tire safety:

  • Check the pressure of all tires (including the spare) on a monthly basis. Because colder temperatures cause your tire pressure to drop, check tires more frequently during the winter.
  • Check the tread for uneven and irregular wear and tear. Also keep an eye out for cuts and bruises along the sidewalls. This could be a sign that your tire is developing a leak, or worse, your tire is about to blow out.
  • Inflate tires to recommended pressure levels.
  • Rotate tires every 6,000 miles to promote uniform tire wear, and then replace when worn or damaged.
  • If the vehicle shakes or pulls to one side, it could be a sign of an alignment issue. Have your alignment checked at least once a year to avoid rapid wear of shock absorbers and struts.

To save money on your next auto repair at your local shop, sign up and find dealerships near you. Shops want to earn your business so they're willing to offer you a discount to try them out!

This article was written with the help and resources from the non-profit Car Care Council. The "Be Car Care Aware" campaign is a consumer education program about the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair, designed to provide knowledge from all segments of the automotive aftermarket industry.

The non-profit Car Care Council is the source of information for the "Be Car Care Aware" consumer education campaign promoting the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair to consumers. To view the Car Care Council's consumer education website, visit www.carcare.org

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