While it is possible to find a wide range of car parts online, knowing exactly what you need is definitely important. Of course, this applies to not only auto parts, but also your car's tires. Many people wait far too long to replace their tires, putting them and others at risk. When your tires need replacing, it is important to ensure it is taken care of as soon as possible. A tire that fails while you are driving down the road is not only an inconvenience, but it can be extremely dangerous.
Tires are manufactured with treads that are designed to help move water from between the tire and the surface of the road, providing better traction, maneuverability and crucial safety. A tire that has worn tread is less efficient at maintaining contact with the road and dangerous hydroplaning can result. Of course, when your vehicle begins to hydroplane, you lose control and an accident can result. Tires that have less than 1/16" of tread are unsafe and should be replaced.
Tread wear bars offer an excellent way to evaluate the condition of your tires. These small bridges form across the tire or between the tire's tread. As your tires begin to wear, the bars will become even with the tread, once this happens it is time to get new tires.
The "penny test" is another excellent way to check the condition of your tires. Simply take a Lincoln head penny and place it into the tread of your car's tire. The penny should be upside down with the face towards you. Take a look at the penny and observe how much of the hair on Lincoln's head you can see. If you can't see any, your tires are in good shape. If you can actually see copper above his head or you can see the top of the hair, it's time to get new tires immediately. If you see only some of the hair, you might want to start looking for some new tires.
A tread depth gauge or indicator is a special tool used to measure the depth of tread in a tire. This tool is easy to use and inexpensive. You can also find a tread depth gauge online that can be downloaded for free.
While tread depth is an important indicator of the safety and traction of your tires, it is also important to take note of any irregular tread wear. Even if you have enough tread depth, irregular wear can indicate a need for service. It could be an indication that your tires need to be rotated or the wheels are not aligned properly. When tires are wearing in an uneven manner, they will have a much shorter life expectancy and will need replacing sooner than should be necessary.
Experts recommend that tires be replaced at a minimum, every 6 years, regardless of condition and use. Maximum life expectancy is 10 years, so check the manufacturer's recommendations for your vehicle and replace when necessary. Of course, replacing closer to the minimum requirements is safer than pushing your tires as long as possible.