You are driving at 65 miles per hour with the kids in the back and the rain pouring down on you. Suddenly, a deer dashes across the road. You hit the brakes, and what happens next depends on the condition of your tires. Obviously, this is not the moment you want to find out you need new tires.
Many drivers fail to think about their tires until they are in an emergency situation. Nearly 9% of car crashes are tire-related, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
You may think that your tires are perfectly fine. But, then again, they may have been on your vehicle for a long time. So, you may start to have a nagging thought at the back of your mind: when should I get around to changing my tires?
In addition to experiencing a blowout or a flat, there are two main factors that can help you determine when you should get around to replacing your tires: tread depth and manufacture date.
When the tread starts to wear down, your tires will begin to lose traction during braking and will not grip the road well, especially when you find yourself driving in the rain, ice, or snow. However, even if there is plenty of tread left on your tires, they should still be replaced if they are too old, or at least every six years, depending on the climate where you live. That is because, over time, the rubber will start to dry and crack, potentially resulting in a blowout or flat tire.
At Automobile Repair Shop San Diego, we will show you how to check your tread depth as one way to see if your tires are still safe. We will also show you where you can find the manufacturing date for your tires so you can determine the age of them and whether they are within the safe use time period recommended by vehicle experts.
Because you will need to check the tread and read the sidewall of your tires, you may want to put on a pair of gloves to keep your hands clean. Also, remember you will be kneeling next to your vehicle. So, be sure that it is parked in a safe location with plenty of light.
It is crucial to inspect your tires every month for tread and wear. In order to properly gauge your tread depth, you can simply use a quarter. This is an easy way to see if you should start shopping for new tires, and it can potentially prevent a catastrophic collision down the road.
When buying tires, there are many options, but the right choice depends on your vehicle, where you live, and your driving needs.
Measuring Tire Tread Depth
In the past, the easiest way to measure the tread depth of your tires was by using the tried and true penny method. Recently, professionals have recommended performing the quarter tread method to more accurately measure the tread of your tires.
You simply have to insert the quarter into the tread of the center of the tire, with George Washington’s head pointing toward the tire. If the top of his head is even with the tread, the tread on the tires is still safe. However, it is also time to start looking for some new ones, according to experts in the automotive field. This will provide you with sufficient time to choose the best tires for your vehicle and even shop around for a fair price that won’t break the bank.
If you are using a penny, you should put it into the center of your tire’s tread head down, and if it is even with the top of Abraham Lincoln’s head, the tires are on their way to being unsafe. You should replace your tires as soon as possible if this is the case.
By planning before you go shopping for your new tires, you will wind up with a safe and comfortable ride, and you may just save some money, too.
Determining the Age of Your Tires
How frequently do you find yourself replacing your tires depends largely on your driving habits. Obviously, the more often you are on the road, the faster you will wear down the tread of your tires. Other factors that contribute to the wear of your tires include weather, roadway conditions, and the performance of the rest of the parts in your axles and suspension. However, even if your tires have plenty of tread left, experts in the industry advise that you replace tires that are six years old or older.
In order to properly gauge how old your tires are, you should reference the four-digit Department of Transportation code on your tire wall to find out when the tire was manufactured. The first two numbers stand for the week in the year it was made, and the other two are for the year. For instance, if your has “1109” printed on it, then it was made in the 11th week of 2009.
Finding the date code can prove a bit difficult. In most cases, it is preceded by the initials DOT. There are other numbers and letters after DOT. You just have to look for a set of four digits ending with two numbers that are recognizable as a year in the recent past.
Do Not Put Off Getting New Tires
Purchasing a new set of tires can get expensive fast. However, do not put off replacing your tires because they are the most crucial safety feature on your vehicle. New tires can also provide your vehicle with a more comfortable ride, and some modern brands will even improve your vehicle’s fuel economy. Check your tread depth and manufacture date, and you will know it is the right time to replace your tires. Or, bring your car in for a complimentary tire check at our San Diego auto repair shop.
Auto Body Repair Shops in San Diego
Automobile Repair Shop San Diego is a family-owned and operated business that has been providing the best repair experiences in San Diego. We will offer you hassle-free auto repairs starting with a precise damage assessment or estimate. We will tow your vehicle for FREE to our shop, organize for a rental car, and work directly with the insurance company to streamline the repair process. We will even pay up to $500 of your deductible. Contact us, your local San Diego auto repair shop, today to see how we can help.