There are plenty of ways to tell if and when you need new tires. Some are visual, some are audible, and some are handy little tricks we’ll walk you through. But having an awareness of whether or not your sick ride is in need of a new set of tires is definitely something you should always be working on.
There are a few ways that your car is going to let you know, “hey buddy, it’s about time I got some new shoes,” that are going to be pretty hard to miss.
You’re driving along the road running errands or just cruising to show off your new paint job, and suddenly a light pops on in your dashboard. It looks like a little exclamation point inside of a cup- this is your Tire Pressure Monitoring System in action.
Now, this light coming on doesn’t immediately mean it’s time to drop a few hundred dollars (or a reasonable $19 a month for a set of Ironman GR906’s through Rent A Wheel.) It just means that one of your tires is running low on air pressure, which can easily happen over time and especially in the winter. But it is something you want to take care of quickly. Most gas stations will have an air pump if you feel like doing it yourself, and you can always swing by a Rent A Wheel service shop if you’d prefer a professional to fill you up.
However, if your Tire Pressure Monitor System starts to pester you frequently, even after you get your tires air replaced, it’s time to get them checked out and most likely replaced. You may have a small leak that can be patched, but patches are temporary, and leaks can lead to blow outs which are always worst case Ontario. Under inflated tires can also lead to excessive wear faster than normal, so definitely something you want to take care of quickly.
It’s important to check your tires air pressure regularly for maintenance, you don’t want to always wait for a light yelling at you to know it’s too late. Check your tire pressure once a month with a cheap tire pressure gauge you can find at any auto parts store. And as an added bonus, properly inflated tires can actually save you gas, as much as 11 cents per gallon
If you’re looking at your tires and wondering to yourself, “When did I buy these?” It might be a good time to start thinking about replacing them. But we’ll talk about that later. A more detailed approach is to know what exactly you’re looking for when you’re standing in front of them.
These might sound pretty obvious, but some major red flags to keep an eye out when looking at your tires include:
Cracks in the rubber anywhere on the tread or on the wall.
Bulging or bubbling of any kind.
Uneven tread wear.
That last one is a little more specific to notice, but if your tires have uneven tread wear that means that one side of your tire is clearly more aged and used than the other. A healthy tire rotation is suggested for all cars every 3000 to 5000 miles, which will extend the life of the killer wheels you purchased for your ride.
Yes, we know, you didn’t get that awesome stereo system in your dream machine so that you could turn it down (or god forbid, turn it off!) but taking a second to listen to your tires could make a huge different in your pocket.
You’d be surprised how loud your music can get and what noises it can cover up inside your car, particularly if you have a newer car with great insulation. Once a month, take a few minutes to turn down your music (stay with us) and listen to your car. Listen while you accelerate, brake, turn, etc. All of your normal functions while driving, you don’t have to slam on your breaks or peel out for this one.
If you start to hear a loud vibrating noise seeming to come from any one of your tires, that’s a sign. Actually less of a sign and more like your car literally screaming for help. The vibrating is typically caused by either uneven wear (as we’ve discussed, not good) or a runout, which could be lateral or radial.
Radial runout is when your tire is awkwardly rotating and isn’t spinning in a perfect circle, lateral being more of a side to side rotation issue. These types of vibrations can sometimes be solved with a rotation or readjustment, but are typically signs that your tire is ready for retirement.
Vibration noises can also sometimes be the sign of misaligned tires, which may be the case if you didn’t get your tires installed at Rent A Wheel by our professionals. Whatever the case, hearing these noises are all indicators that you should more than likely visit your nearest Rent A Wheel service shop for inspection and affordable replacement.
Excuse the clever reference- we couldn’t help ourselves. But since we’re thinking about tread, let’s talk about it.
There are a lot of online sources that tell you to check your tires with one of the many pennies you probably have laying around in a jar or in one of your pockets. Stick the penny between your tire treads with President Lincolns head facing you and going straight down into the rubber- if you can see all of his head then it’s time to start shopping. This is generally called the penny test, but what’s going on with this test? And is it reliable?
The bare minimum for safe tire treads is 1/16th’s of an inch of rubber left on the tire, and the gap between the edge of a penny and Abraham Lincolns head is 1/16th of an inch, thus the reasoning behind the penny test. But this number is cutting it a little close for us here at Rent A Wheel. Waiting until your treads get that low to start looking at new tires is like waiting until you see a blizzard outside to start looking into a nice winter coat- maybe a bit too late.
We recommend using quarter instead and sticking our first Presidents head in your tire (don’t worry he’ll be alright.) The gap between the rim of a quarter and Mr. Washington's head is 2/16th’s of an inch- twice that of Mr. Lincoln. This doesn’t seem like a big difference in measurement but trust us, when you’re talking about the amount of rubber between you and the road, it is.
And if you live somewhere where it snows regularly you might want to bump that number even up to 3/16th’s of an inch. Call us crazy, but your safety is a huge priority to us, and that small amount of tire can make a huge difference when you’re slamming on the brakes.
We told you we would come back to this. This is one that doesn’t always have a particularly glaring warning sign, and more relies on you to be on your A game when it comes to organizing your paperwork. But you organize your paperwork, right? So this one will be easy.
Your tires have a life span, and while some people might want to push that number to the limit it’s very important to keep track of. You buy yourself a sweet new set of Uniroyal Cigar Paw AWP II’s for just $27 a month and they look and feel amazing. Suddenly a few years goes by, but your tires are holding up. A few more years, you start to forget when exactly you bought them. But you check your paperwork and see they’re pushing seven years now. Is it time to replace them?
Probably. It’s recommended that you actually replace your tires every six years generally. You might be able to get a few more out of them, but the time is for sure around the corner.
Like we said, this one just relies on you and your trusty paperwork- or your spot on memory if that works better. (Don’t worry, we won’t tell if you take a peak at your papers, just for a reminder.)
To summarize, most of the time your car is going to let you know when you need new tires- you just need to know what exactly you’re looking or listening for. And once a month a brief inspection while you’re driving and parked is going to make a worlds difference in deciding whether or not it’s time to replace your cars tires. But whether you’re pushing eight years without replacements, regular Tire Pressure light visits, or hearing some bad vibrations from your tires, you can always trust that Rent A Wheel is going to have the perfect fit for you and your vehicle, at an unbelievable price.