A vehicle’s tires may not be the first thing that comes to most people’s minds when they think of essential car components, however healthy tires are the main safety feature keeping your vehicle on the road.
“Tires are of course the only part of your vehicle that make contact with the road and in order to stay in proper control of your vehicle your tires need to be in top shape,” said Andy Chiodo of Active Green + Ross. “Generally most tires will last about three to six years, but there are indicators that can tell you when you should begin researching your next tire purchase.”
Andy has provided the following five tips to help you determine if you need to consider getting new tires:
Bald or shallow tread depth – Bald tires, or tires with a very low tread depth, can create serious safety problems because the vehicle will not be able to grip the road as well. In wet or snowy conditions, driving will become more dangerous and you will experience less control. To stay safe, check your tires yourself, or have a qualified mechanic examine them. If you are inspecting them yourself, you will want each tire to have a tread depth deeper than 1.6mm.
Time for new winter tires – Tough Canadian winters require tires that can power through snow and provide traction in slippery conditions. If you’ve been using the same winter tires for more than three years, they are probably not as reliable as they were when you first bought them. New tires provide better grip and have more technological advancements than tires that are several years old. In Canada, winter tires have a distinct advantage over all-season tires.
Cracks in the tread or sidewall – A simple visual inspection of the tread area and side of your tires can give an indication of their health. If you find large cracks, cuts or any sort of puncture marks, your tires are not as safe as they used to be. Older tires start showing more cracks on their sidewalls so if your winter tires are looking worn, it may be time to consider updating before installing the old ones.
Tire feel – No one knows the feel of your car better than you — if you start to notice changes in how the car drives, be it an odd vibration or a noticeable change in road feel, it is best to get your tires inspected. It could be a simple alignment issue which can be fixed without getting new tires, or it could be a sign that your tires are starting to show their age. Keep in mind that even newly paved roads can cause vibrations that might make you think that your vehicle is the problem when a poorly paved road is the actual culprit.
Change in gas mileage – Properly mounted tires with an even tread pattern and correct tire pressure will optimize your gas mileage. If your tires have uneven wear, it’s a sign that they are not properly aligned and your car’s mileage will suffer because your vehicle has to work harder. If you have noticed a change in gas mileage, examining your tire treads is an easy way to determine if it’s a simple fix. Reduced or uneven tread can result in lower gas mileage, meaning it may be time to look into new tires.