Automotive Tips

How Often Do You Need New Tires?

Technician_Car_14How often you need to change your vehicle’s tires depends on the quality and type of tire, maintenance, and personal driving style.  While how long you can go before you need to purchase new tires depends on these factors, tread wear typically lets you know it is time to change your tires. To visually check tire tread for wear, use the “penny test”. Just insert a penny upside-down into the tire’s tread groove; if you can see the top of Abraham Lincoln’s head, then the tread is worn out, and it’s time to replace that tire. The standard measurement for a worn out tread is 2/32nd of an inch. In addition to the penny test, it’s also a good idea to periodically inspect your tires for signs of damage including deep cracks, punctures, bulges or cuts in the sidewall which could indicate the need for repair or replacement.

Tire safety begins with a good set of tires so we at Jiffy Lube of Southern California encourage you to choose tires that meet your needs with high tread wear and traction ratings.  After purchasing your tires we encourage you to keep safety a priority with proper tire maintenance such as the following:

  • Inflation: check monthly to ensure your tires are properly inflated according to information in your vehicle manufacturer’s manual or inside the driver’s door jam.
  • Rotation: have your tires rotated every 6,000 to 8,000 miles for even wear.
  • Alignment: check the front end alignment regularly if you drive on rough roads as poor alignment can cause uneven tread wear.

Despite attention to the kind of tires you buy and regular maintenance, differences in driving style make it difficult to determine just how long tires will last. Gentle driving with minimal sudden stops, starts, and turns will go a long way toward protecting and extending the life of your tires. But, your actual tire life can still fall short of expectations due to “unknowns” like road hazards and the amount of weight your vehicle carries. Also, the rubber in tires begins to break down over time regardless of mileage, making them more likely to fail. The effects of aging may not be visible on the outside of a tire, so tires that pass the penny test may still warrant replacing if they are six years of age or older. You can find some additional maintenance and driving tips for extending tire life  at this Forbes magazine article.

When it comes to on the road safety, there’s no such thing as too much TLC for your tires. Likewise there’s no substitute for regular vehicle maintenance to extend the life of your vehicle. At Jiffy Lube, we check tire pressure with every oil change and offer a variety of other vehicle services like tire rotation.  Hopefully we have taken some of the mystery out of when you need to buy tires.  Look for our follow up on how to buy tires that are right for you and your vehicle.  Follow us on Twitter so we can let you know when our next topic comes out.

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