Worn tires are a risk to drivers, especially at high speeds and in poor weather. Do you know if yours are still safe to use? Here are 3 quick ways to find out if it’s time to replace your tires.
Even though tires are the main contact points that hold a vehicle safely to the road surface, drivers often neglect to change (or maintain) them in a timely fashion. Why? It might simply be tempting to save a few dollars and make them last another season – but your tires are one important safety feature that should never be neglected.
Why changing and maintaining your tires is crucial
Tires are designed to ensure good traction in all conditions and at high speeds, as long as their tread is still viable. But good tires with a suitable tread are not only essential for your safety and for the people who share the road with you, they are also beneficial for other reasons:
- Good tires reduce your fuel consumption.
- A viable tread improves your vehicle’s handling on curves and during breaking. In turn, this decreases the chances of losing control and potentially having an accident.
- A car with good tires emits less pollution because it drives more efficiently.
3 quick tips for measuring tire wear
If you’re wondering just how extensive your car’s tire wear is and whether it’s time to buy new tires, you can quickly and easily evaluate the situation yourself via one of three ways:
1. Look for the tire tread wear indicator
It’s located inside the tread grooves of each tire.
- When the tread is flush with, or below the wear indicator, your tires are worn out and need to be replaced immediately.
2. Do the Canadian quarter test
Insert a 25-cent coin into one of the grooves with the caribou’s head pointing down.
- If you can see the tip of the nose of this great northern animal, it is a sign of very worn treads. That means it is high time to bid adieu to your tire.
3. Take your car to a tire shop or service garage
The pros there will give you a clear picture of the state of your tires.
N.B.: When measuring tire wear, remember to check all four tires at the same time. Uneven wear could indicate problems other than improperly inflated tires. It could suggest issues with the suspension that may require a trip to your local mechanic.
To prevent premature tire wear
To keep your tires running as long as possible and to avoid premature tire wear:
Check the air pressure at least once a month
If you’re on the road a lot, check the pressure weekly because low pressure is the number one enemy of tires.
- Consult your vehicle owner’s manual to find the correct air pressure level for your tires.
- Add air, as required, at a gas station’s air pump if the pressure is low.
Have your tires regularly rotated, balanced, and aligned
To ensure that your tires wear evenly, they should be balanced and aligned according to the manufacturer’s recommendations or with every change of season.
- If you notice that your tires are not wearing evenly or if your vehicle has a tendency to pull to either side, a wheel alignment may be necessary.
Remember, the key to good road handling and passenger safety is to deal with tire wear right away. Your service garage or tire shop will set you up and have you driving safely in no time.