When it comes to routine auto maintenance, tire upkeep is square one. A good set of tires ensures optimal performance, helps with fuel efficiency, and keeps your car running safely and smoothly. But tires don’t last forever, and you’ll need to do some regular maintenance to keep your tires functioning as intended—including having them rotated and occasionally replaced.
The question is, when is it time for a tire replacement? For most drivers, new tires are needed every few years, but it varies greatly depending on how you drive. In this post, we’ll summarize four warning signs—red flags that it’s time for some tire maintenance.
The Tire Warning Light Comes On
If you have a newer vehicle—made after 2008—then you may have a tire warning light. When this light comes on, all it really means is that one or more of your tires needs some air added. You can add air yourself using a gas station air pump, or take your vehicle to a service station to have it added for you.
If you add air and the light comes on again shortly thereafter, that could point to a leak—and thus, the need for a new set of tires.
Your Tread is Low
Along the edges of each tire there are bumps and grooves—more commonly known as tire tread. This is an important feature, as it helps the car adhere to the road. Without sufficient tire tread, you’ll have major handling problems, and your car will slide more than it’s supposed to.
Periodically take a look at your tread—and if you notice that those grooves are becoming visibly less prominent, this may be a sign that you need new tires. You can always ask your mechanic to check the tire tread when you take the vehicle in for routine maintenance.
One Side is Worn Down More Than the Other
While inspecting your tires for low tread, you can also pay attention to uneven wear. If one side of the tire looks like it’s lower/flatter than the other, that may mean that you’ve either overinflated your tires or that you haven’t had them rotated frequently enough. In either case, you may need to replace them altogether.
Your Tires Rattle
Finally, be aware of any unusual vibrations, or of a rattling effect when you drive. This could point to a number of potential issues with your vehicle, none of them good—and one potential problem is that your tires are failing.
If you encounter any of these red flags, get to a service station or a tire shop right away. Remember: Tires help make your car safe, and they also protect its value and performance.
To learn more about how to care for your car, keep following along at the Get My Auto blog.