How often should you replace your tires?
Changing tires on a car seems like an endless process. Chiefly, tires are changed at the end of useful tread life, which can vary car to car from 20,000 miles for an ultra-high performance tire to 90,000 miles for an all-season tire. Wear can be gauged by the tread indicator or bridge manufactured into the central, circumferential grooves of the tire. When this tread indicator becomes flush with the adjacent tread, the tire is considered legally bald. Moreover, tires should be changed after a period of five or more years or when the tire begins to crack and dry rot. Lastly, tires take a fair share of abuse from nails and glass to potholes and curbs. Any sort of damage to the tires - gash in the sidewall, bubbles, larger punctures – needs to be addressed with replacement. An experienced technician will be able to gauge the wear and quality of tires during any routine service.
What are the symptoms of faulty tires?
When a driver feels a noticeable loss of traction or even if the grip of the road feels less than expected, these are symptoms of worn or bald tires. However, even before a tire reaches this point, the traction will not be equal to the first third or half of tread life. In fact the traction can be considerably less as the rubber becomes dry and hard and the smaller cuts in the tire tread blocks (called sipes) start to disappear - usually around 4/32nd of an inch. Especially in areas where precipitation is high, tires should be changed before they reach the legally bald state.
Why its important to change your tires in a timely manner:
The ability to safely control a car begins with the tires. As the only contact point the car makes with a driving surface, the tire provides the traction or grip for acceleration and braking. Even bald tires will deliver this traction in dry weather, but the ability to channel away water or snow is imperative. Good tires will prevent hydroplaning and allow safe navigation of the car over most surface conditions. On top of good traction, tires will improve to a certain degree how the car handles when taking a turn or maneuvering on the highway. Tire speed ratings (how well a tire performs at higher speeds) have increased on most applications, so even basic car suspensions are enhanced (or diminished) by the tires.
What is the severity of not changing your tires when needed?
With little or no care for tires, the risk of losing control of a car rises dramatically and can ultimately lead to an accident. Tires with low tread or tires that are bald cannot evacuate water or snow fast enough from the contact area with the road. This layer of fluid between the tire and road greatly diminishes friction and will cause the car to hydroplane, making it hard to steer or safely stop for even experienced drivers. Neglected damage to tires is dangerous as well. Bubbles or gashes are weakened areas to the overall construction of the tire. Especially when these occur on the sidewall of a tire, the chances of a tire blowout increase, which again will lead to a lack of control over the car. In either case, the best course of action is tire replacement.
What is the typical cost for new tires?
- Estimated new tire cost = $85 - $170 (per tire)
- Estimated tire installation cost = $15-50 (per tire)
Especially for new tires, pricing will vary based on the vehicle type. Save time and money by using Openbay to compare pricing and book an appointment with a service center in your area.
Service article written by an ASE Master Technician