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How to Tell if You Need New Tires

Mar 03, 2022

You probably know that it’s important to replace your car’s tires every few years. But it's not always so easy to tell when you need new tires! Sometimes the tread will look fine, but the rubber will be starting to wear down and the tire might be losing air. Here are a few tips on how to tell if it's time for a new set of tires.

Check the Tread Depth

Checking your tire's tread depth can be a simple way to see if you need new tires. Most modern cars require tire tread depths of at least 2/32 inches to operate safely. So, what exactly is tire tread depth? It’s a measurement of how deep the grooves are in your tires. Those grooves help channel water and grip the road when you're driving. An easy way to check the tread depth is to use a penny. Place the penny into the tread of the tire with Lincoln's head facing down. If you can't see the top of Lincoln's head, your tires have enough tread depth. If you can see the top of his head, your tires need to be replaced.

Look for Uneven Wear

Taking a look at how worn your tires are can tell you if you need new tires. If one tire is wearing unevenly compared to the others on your car, it may be time for new tires. You'll know when this has happened if there are deep grooves or uneven ridges in only one part of the treads. Uneven wear can be caused by how you drive. For example, if you always accelerate from a stop in the same lane or pull into your driveway with the front end of the car, your tires may wear unevenly. Uneven wear can also be caused by malfunctions within the suspension and alignment systems of your vehicle.

Listen to Your Tires

If you're hearing odd noises from within the wheel wells when you drive, it may be a sign that you need new tires. If you hear any hissing or rumbling noises when you're driving, your tires may be low on air. You should also listen for thuds or loud screeches, which can mean uneven wear has caused the road to break down the rubber on one side of your tire. You can check how much air is in your tires at any gas station or service center that has an air compressor.

Do Your Tires Have Trouble Holding Air?

If you begin to notice that your tires aren't holding air, it may mean that your tires are in need of replacing. When a tire begins to wear out, it becomes harder for the rubber to hold air because it has become porous over time. You also might want to check and see if anything has punctured your tire. A puncture will also, of course, cause air to leak.

Has the Tire Shape Become Warped? 

If you notice that your tires have warped, it’s most likely because they’re old and worn out. If the tread has grown smooth on one side of the tire, or there are bulges in uneven parts of the tire, then it may be time for new tires.

Look for Cracks

If you see cracks in your tires, that’s a sign that you need to replace them. The cracks indicate that the rubber has started to break down and the tires are no longer safe to drive on. If you notice any cracks, you should replace your tires as soon as possible, as they could potentially burst while you're driving.

How Old Are Your Tires?

While the exact lifespan of tires will vary based on your driving habits and where you live, most tires will last around five to eight years. If you realize that you've had your tires longer than that, we recommend getting your tires inspected by your local auto shop.

How to Extend the Life of Your Tires

If you're like most people, you probably don't think about your car's tires until it's time for a new set. But did you know that there are things you can do to help extend the life of your tires? Here are a few tips on how to keep your tires in good shape.

Check Your Tire Alignment Twice Per Year

The main thing that will help extend the life of your tires is making sure to check how well they’re aligned twice per year. It's easy for your wheels to become misaligned over time, so you should have this checked whenever you go in for a normal oil change. If there is a misalignment, it will cause uneven wear and damage your tires quickly.

Balance Your Wheels

Another great way to extend the life of your tires is to make sure they’re balanced. If your car tends to vibrate at higher speeds, it could be a sign that your wheels or tires are out of balance. This will cut into the longevity of your tires, so be sure to get them balanced whenever you notice this happening. Balancing your wheels is a quick and easy process that most tire shops will do for you at a very affordable rate.

Rotate Your Tires

It's also important to remember to rotate your tires when necessary. Some drivers wait too long between rotations, which can cause the front and back tires to wear out at different speeds. To avoid this, be sure you get your tires rotated about every 5,000 miles. 

Monitor Your Air Pressure

Finally, it's a good idea to monitor how much air pressure is in your tires. When there isn't enough air inside your tires, the rubber will begin to wear out and break down faster. So, be sure you check how much air is in all of your tires at least once per month, and fill them up when they get too low.

What to Do If I Need New Tires

If you're looking for a set of new tires, we recommend stopping by yourlocal auto shop to get them checked out. Most auto shops have a tire specialist who can give you a quick inspection and give you an idea of how much life is left in your tires. If you feel unprepared financially for the cost of new tires, Acima’s lease-to-own solutions* can help you get the tires you need with flexible lease renewal payment options.

Common Questions About Tires:

How long do tires last? 

Most tires will last about six years, but some can last for up to 10 years. It all depends on how often you drive and how well your car is maintained.

What should the PSI on my tires be?

PSI stands for “pounds per square inch.” The PSI for your car's tires will vary depending on the make and model of your car. The easiest way to find out the recommended PSI for your vehicle is to look at your vehicle's manual, or check the tire pressure placard on the inside of the driver's side door.

When should I rotate my tires? 

Rotating your tires is necessary to make sure they wear out evenly. They should be rotated about every 5,000 miles.

What are tires made of? 

Tires are made of natural and synthetic rubber and several other components, which is why they have to be replaced when they get worn out. The rubber causes the tires to become smooth or to bulge if they’re too old. If you notice these issues, then it's time for new tires.