How to Tell If Your Tires Are Still Good

car tire Lincoln penny test When you buy a new or used car from an auto dealer, chances are they’ve performed a once over on the vehicle including making sure the tires are still good.

But what about after you drive off that lot? How can you tell if you tires are still good after driving for hundreds or thousands of miles?

You can use the general rule of thumb by reading the manufacturer owner’s manual. In the manual, it usually will recommend how often your tires should be rotated or replaced. This does come with a caveat; however. Depending on what part of the country you live in and what sort of roads you drive on, you can’t always rely that the owner’s manual is the best choice.

When Should I Rotate My Tires?

Your car’s tires should be rotated every 5,000 to 7,500 miles. When you do have them rotated, it’s also a good idea to have the technician balance the tires as well to ensure your vehicle will perform while on the road and not pull to the left or right.

Expect a tire rotation and alignment or balance to cost you between $55 and $140. There are many national chains that offer great deals on tire rotation that includes balancing the tires so keep an eye out for them in your local newspaper to find the best price.

Why Do My Tires Wear Down?

Most non-technician people don’t realize that front tires suffer from more wear and tear than the back tires. This is especially true on front-wheel drive vehicles. The reason for this is that the front tires carry more weight than the back tires. Also, front tires respond to your steering that can cause wear and tear.

Where you drive can increase the wear on your tires. If you do a lot of highway driving at fast speeds compared to city streets, you’ll put a little more wear on your tires. If you live in an area that has many potholes that are impossible to avoid you have a greater chance of damaging your tires.

Finally, if you live in climates that are very hot and can’t store your vehicle in a garage or carport, the sun can put a lot of wear and tear on tires. Extreme cold weather can have the same effect. Look for good deals in your local newspaper when your vehicle’s tires reach the 5,000-mile mark.

When Should I Replace My Tires?

Believe it or not, most states have a law that says if the tread on your tires wears down to 2/32” then it’s time to replace them. You can always do the old Lincoln penny test and place a penny in between your tire treads with the President’s head toward the tread. If you can still see his entire head and shoulders on the penny, your tread is probably alright. But not always, say the experts.

Some tire experts say that you should have your tires replaced when the tread is 4/32” to ensure your braking capabilities won’t be affected.

If you are unsure about when to replace your tires or how to judge the tread on your tires, have your local mechanic take a look at them when you take your vehicle in for an oil change. If your mechanic informs you that maybe only one or two of your tires need to be replaced, make sure you request the same make of tire for the replacement.

How Much Will New Tires Cost?

In today’s world of fancy wheels and pricey tires, having all four of your tires replaced will depend on the brand and model you choose. Where you have the tires replaced should also be considered. Look for discounts in your newspapers for tire sales that include balancing. I

If you do replace any of your tires, a balancing should be included so make sure you ask if that was done. Expect to pay anywhere from $200 to $600 to have your tires replaced; again it does depend on the type of tires you choose.

Remember to keep your tires in mind when your mechanic performs your recommended services. We often think because they are made of rubber they are durable and will last forever. Not true, say the experts, so stay on the safe side and let an expert technician examine your tires.

An auto warranty won’t cover replacing your tires as they become worn, but a wear and tear auto warranty will help with unexpected repairs on your car and save you money in the long run.

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Filed under: Wear and Tear

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