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5 Signs It’s Time for New Tires

May 12, 2022

A man looking at the tires on his car and deciding if it is time for new tires

Let’s talk tires. Because unless you get an obvious flat, a puncture or (worse) a blowout, you understandably may not think much about them as you drive through life. The truth is that you should, at least once in a while — because there’s just no getting around the fact that you’ll need to have the tires on your car checked and replaced at some point. But when?

Take a moment right now to ask yourself a few questions:

  • Do I know what kind of shape my tires are really in?

  • How can I tell what shape they’re in, even if they look fine?

  • How will I know when I need a new tire (or an entire set)?

Keep reading for five ways that will help you answer these questions. We’ll even tell you what certain tire issues may indicate about your vehicle, and when those issues should be addressed.

Another thing we’ll just get out in the open: Yes, tires are expensive, and many times you’ll be advised to shop for two or more at once. But the monetary (and otherwise) problems caused by not maintaining them will be far worse. But with Acima’s help, tires can be affordable! We’ll explain that as well.

Low Tire Tread

The more you drive your car, the more the tread on your tires will naturally wear down. The telltale sign to get new tires is when that tread gets too low. How can you tell? The penny test is a simple way: Take a penny and place it in the grooves of your treads, with Lincoln’s head pointing down. If you can still see the top of his head, that tells you the tread is too shallow.

Please keep in mind that it’s dangerous to drive on really worn or low tread tires. It can affect your car’s ability to brake quickly and efficiently; it can make your car more susceptible to hydroplaning and loss of traction in adverse weather conditions; and your tires have a higher likelihood of being punctured, which can cause blowouts. So while replacing tires can be a considerable expense, it is worth making the small investment instead of taking such big risks.

Uneven Tread Wear = Bigger Problems?

If you find tread damage on one tire, it’s likely there on the others as well — though not necessarily identically. It could show up in different parts of each tire, such as across the tire tread or around the circumference of the tire. If this type of irregularity exists, it raises a red flag that goes beyond needing new tires.

This type of wear is usually an indicator of one or more underlying problems with your vehicle. The tires may be improperly inflated, they may be misaligned/out of balance, or the suspension parts may be damaged. A tire shop expert will check for these things, and it’s best to be proactive and get them fixed than risk more serious damage to your car down the (literal and proverbial) road.

Odd Vibrations or Noises

If your tires are making weird or excessive vibrations or noises, this could be another indication of the problems mentioned above — among other issues. Regardless, the bottom line is that tires should not make noises or cause your car to vibrate. If either is happening, it’s best to take your car to a mechanic who can assess the problem and advise you on your best course of action.

Cracked Rubber

Cracked tires are a sign that the rubber on the tires has degraded, most likely due to either age, defective materials or improper use. Cracking can be caused from excess exposure to UV lights, oils, chemicals and other elements that slowly break down compounds and reduce the rubber’s flexibility. If the cracks are deep and widespread, it means your tires have become brittle which may lead to a blowout — so you’ll want to replace the tires as quickly as possible.

Abusing and neglecting tires — including improper inflation, overloading the ties and hard driving — can all lead to cracks as well. No matter what the reason, cracks (just like the other signs of wear and tear mentioned above) can be dangerous to drive on and can cause serious, costly damage to your vehicle if not fixed.

Tires Are More Than 10 Years Old

At a certain point, regardless of how well your tires seem to be performing or how much tread is left, tires eventually need replacing — the reality is that they are not meant to last forever. Most tire manufacturers recommend shopping for a fresh set of tires after about 10 years. (1)

Acima Leasing: New Tires Made Affordable

Another effective way to make new tires more budget-friendly is to shop through Acima! The tire and automotive retailers you’ll find can help you get the tire (or set of tires) you need, when you need them, on terms you can afford. With our lease-to-own solutions*, you can then choose to make manageable lease renewal payments on terms that work for you toward eventual ownership or save by exercising an early purchase option. You can also return the tires in good condition at any time without further obligation. So, if you don’t have the cash at this moment or you don’t want to shop using credit, guess what … now you don’t have to!

Find a store near you and shop at our auto retailers for your new tires today.

Learn more about Acima Leasing here. Still have questions? Check out our FAQ page.

Looking for More Tips about Your Tires?

Check out our article on How to Put Air In Your Tires.

(1) “7 Warning Signs You Need New Tires” - Business Insider, May 22, 2019