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You could drive the priciest performance car out there, but if its tires are substandard, your ride will be substandard too — not to mention potentially dangerous. Most people don’t think much about their tires until a dashboard light indicates they’re low on air, they discover one is flat or they’re riding along and have a blowout. The best way to protect against this last worst-case scenario is routinely inspecting your tires for wear and damage.


Tire Milestones to Keep in Mind

The lifespan of your tires depends on their quality, your driving habits, the climate, and the road conditions they’re subjected to. Here are some general rules of thumb, though:

  • Have your tires professionally rotated and balanced on a regular basis and check air pressure once a week to ensure they're properly inflated.
  • Visually evaluate tread wear every month or so. When in doubt, have a pro check it out.
  • When your tires reach five years old, they should be professionally inspected each year.
  • If your tires (spare tires included) reach 10 years old, replace them despite their visual condition. Your safety is worth far more than the cost of a new set of tires.

How to Evaluate Tire Tread

Unless you are an automotive professional, visually inspecting your tire tread may leave you questioning if it’s sufficient. One quick and easy way to evaluate your tread is to use a graduated tread depth gauge. These inexpensive tools are available at most auto parts stores. Simply place the probe into a groove in your tire, press the edges of the probe flat against the tire, and read the measurement. If tread measures less than 4/32”, it's time to replace the tires. For best traction in snow, replace at 6/32.


Signs That It’s Time to Replace Your Tires

When you’re driving in slick road conditions, does your vehicle tend to hydroplane or skid more than it used to? Have you been in an accident or a close call that required you to suddenly slam on your brakes? Has it been a while since you’ve replaced your tires and your car has been parked outside where it was subjected to an unusually hot summer or cold winter? Have you noticed it's more difficult to handle your vehicle when you're driving in snowy or wet conditions?

If your tires are more than 10 years old or have shallow tread, it’s time to start thinking about buying new tires sooner rather than later. Not only is it dangerous to drive on worn treads, but it might even be illegal. 

Tire shopping can be a daunting prospect for people who have no idea how to tell one tire from the next. What size tires do you need? Can you get by with an economy version or should you invest in high-performance wheels? Coming up, look for our follow-up blog that will provide tips on how to tire shop. 

In the meantime, if you’ve got questions about this or any other automotive topic, contact us at DeBoer’s Auto. We want you to count on us as your go-to source for all your automotive needs.

Get a $50 In-Store Credit  When Purchasing 4 Tires

Bill DeBoer

Written by Bill DeBoer

William J. DeBoer (Bill Jr.) is Co-owner and Vice President at DeBoer’s Auto. As the company’s General Manager, Bill has been responsible for bringing innovations in daily operations to the full-service, high-tech auto repair facility for 20+ years. Passionate about computers from an early age, Bill’s interest in technology gravitated to cars while he was in college. By obtaining a Certificate in Automotive Technology followed by a B.S. in Business Management from Penn State, Bill was able to fuse his interests into a car technology specialization and join the family business shortly thereafter.