You should check the tread on your tires once a month. A good time to start looking for replacement tires is when they show signs of wear. There are many high-quality tire options, but the best one for your car, where you live, and how you drive will depend on those things.
More than 40 tire models (cars, SUVs, and trucks) are put through their paces in up to 12 tests at Consumer Reports every year, with most of the testing taking place at our test track in Connecticut.
How effectively tires grip, brake, and handle; how they fare in the snow or on wet roads; and how resistant they are to roll are all things that can be determined through these testing. We figure out the cost per 100 miles driven by adding the original price of the tire to estimate how long the tread will last after driving thousands of kilometers on a road course in western Texas.
Don't automatically go for the lowest option if you need new tires. How long a set of tires lasts before they need to be replaced is a major consideration in estimating how much money will be spent on them over their useful lifetime. You should first look over our detailed tire ratings if you need new tires.
Before you start buying, it's a good idea to understand the fundamentals of buying new tires.
Tires are classified according to their speed rating, which ranges from S (112 mph) to Y (186 mph), with certain winter tires having a lower speed rating. This represents the tire's top speed when carrying a load. Higher speed-rated tires have better grip and handling, but they wear out faster, making them more expensive.
Tires come in various sizes, so pick the proper one for your vehicle.
Each tire has a number on the side like this: 215/60R16. The 215 refers to the cross-section width, the widest distance between one sidewall and the other when mounted on the wheel; 60 is the sidewall height to tire width ratio, and 16 is the wheel size in inches. This is usually listed on the driver's doorjamb as well.
Here at Total Upgrade Automotive, we can help you pick the tires that are best for you vehicle.
We've listed the top 5 warning signs that show you need new tires.
1. Too much vibration
Some vibration is expected when driving, especially on badly surfaced roads. Still, if you've been behind the wheel for any length of time, you probably know how much vibration is normal and how much indicates a problem. The vibration could be due to several factors, including worn shock absorbers, uneven tires, or a lack of alignment.
However, this may also indicate a problem with the tire. While the tire may not be the direct source of the vibration, it may be damaged by the vibration and present an issue soon. If your automobile is experiencing shimmy-shimmy vibrations, even if you aren't on particularly terrible roads, you should get it looked out as soon as possible. When the vibration level increases above a certain point, it usually means that something is amiss.
2. Blisters and Bulges on the tire
When a tire's outer layer fails, it can seriously compromise its performance. The result could be a long bump or blister that pulls away from the area around it. This is very similar to an aneurysm in a blood vessel, and if your doctor tells you that you have an aneurysm, you know you need to get to the hospital immediately before you burst an artery.
In the same way, your tire is in the same condition. If you don't take your automobile to the doctor (or service center) before the tire blows out on the freeway, you might wind up there. So, watch out for blisters and bulges in your tires.
3. Sidewall Cracks
Some tire issues may not manifest themselves in the tread itself. The sidewall is another possible location for them to show up. Luckily, sidewall issues are typically obvious to the naked eye. Find visible grooves in the sidewall and follow a track or cut.
This may indicate that your tire is beginning to leak air or, even worse, is about to explode. You should try to avoid this. Therefore, if the sidewall cracks are worsening, take the automobile in for repairs as soon as possible and start discussing replacing them. As the adage goes, "better safe than sorry."
4. The tread wear indicator bar
Newer tires offer a practical benefit that their predecessors did not. The tires incorporate tread wear bars for easy monitoring of tread condition. These bars, which are not present or are very difficult to see in brand-new tires, become more noticeable as the tread wears down. They look like flat rubber bars set at an angle to the tread's main direction.
If more than a couple of these are on a tire, it's time to replace it. This should be most noticeable in the tire ruts left after driving through water. If the bars are appearing on some or all of your tires, it is time to talk to your mechanic or local tire dealer about getting your present tires replaced. The penny test on the page before this one can help you figure out if it's time to get new tires.
5. Tread Depth
Keep the tread depth on your tires at least 1/16 of an inch (1.6 millimeters). The benefits of this increase are magnified if you frequently drive on wet roads. Professionals use a gauge to measure tread depth, but an old trick won't cost you more than a dime but will give you a good indication of how much tread depth is remaining on your tires.
You'll need a single cent. Put a penny down into the tread of a coin with Lincoln's image on it, like the kind you might find in your change. You'll want more tread if Lincoln's full head is still visible. Stop by our shop for a visit and let us inspect your tires to see if you should buy new tires.
Here at Total Upgrade Automotive, we have 3 ASE Certified Master Technicians on Staff who can help you perform mandatory diagnostics on almost every component of your vehicle. We can determine whether your tires require replacement or repair after diagnosing them. Contact us now if you're noticing any of the signs above.