As long as you keep an eye on your tires’ performance, record your mileage, and understand what to look for, knowing when to replace tires isn’t too much of a hassle. In this article we cover why it’s important to keep your tires in good shape and indicators that tell you when you should begin shopping for replacements.
The Purpose of Tires on Your Car
1. Tires support your car.
Did you know that the contact patch of a tire is about as small as a single postcard? One tire actually supports around 400 kilograms! This means that the structural integrity of the tire must be perfect; any cracks or signs of unusual wear should be flagged as a warning sign that the tire is not up to par.
2. Tires absorb shock, making your ride more comfortable and smooth.
Tires are composed of a mixture of composites and natural materials, and within this outer carcass it is filled with air. The air inside is like a coil, or a cushion, and work alongside the suspension system to alleviate shock when driving. This not only helps the car run smoothly and avoid damage, but also affords a more comfortable and stable ride. Also important to not is the air pressure of the tire; if the air pressure is too high, then the ride will suffer as the “cushion” within the tire will be more firm. This could also lead to a blow out or other dangerous situations.
3. Tires are essential for accelerating and braking.
Tires transfer the power from the engine and transmission into directional movement on the road; they are essential for starting and acceleration, as well as braking or deceleration. As long as the tires are working properly and the driver is not operating the vehicle recklessly, drivers should not have any trouble controlling the car or experiencing anything not expected.
4. Tires determine the car’s direction.
Whether turning right, left or going straight or reversing, tires not only allow you to maintain direction, but they also help you stay on course. A good set of tires has a dramatic effect on handling, and will allow more abrupt changes in direction with a higher degree of turn while still being safe and in control.
These four essential roles that allow drivers to properly control their cars can be summarized as giving the driver and the vehicle the ability to accelerate and decelerate, change direction, and giving a comfortable ride. All of these factors are all directly related to a tire’s grip on the road’s surface, a tire’s integrity, as well as the proper care and maintenance of the tire.
What is a Wear Bar?
When a tire gets worn down enough, “bars” of rubber will begin to appear on its surface. These marks, called wear bars, actually do not appear, but are built deep into the tread to indicate when it is crucial to change the tire. They signal that it’s no longer safe to drive on the current set of tires. As tires wear down, their ability to drain water and even move properly declines, resulting in a much less smooth and comfortable driving experience, as well as an extremely dangerous driving experience!
Once your tread depth gets to just 1.6 mm or lower, part of your tire might actually become completely flat—you need to check that carefully! When you use a defective tire, in the worst case, a blowout may occur, possibly resulting in a serious accident. It’s not only a matter of personal safety for yourself, but also other motorists around you. It is also an issue of legality; the law—depending on the country you’re driving in, may find you liable for driving under such unsafe conditions.
In order to keep your tires in working order, you should change your tires before you see evidence of wear bars. Tires with wear bars will seriously affect the safety of your car, and so you should be extremely careful. Especially if you use the freeway/highway frequently, you should put safety first and get your tires changed as soon as possible.
Apart from wear bars, there are four additional tire wear problems to check at home that can help you decide whether or not it’s time to start shopping for new tires.
When to Replace Tires on Your Car
Any of the following reasons are good indicators on knowing when to replace tires on your car:
When there is only 3 mm of tread depth remaining, it is recommended that the tire be replaced.
If the tread depth has reached 1.6 mm, the vehicle becomes highly dangerous, and you could be liable (punishable by law) if you are negligent in replacing the tires.
You should change your tires if you have travelled over 70,000—80,000 km.
You notice any cracks or dangerous signs of abnormal wear.
The “wear bars” begin to show.
If any of the indicators above apply to your tires, and you’re ready to begin shopping for high quality replacements, be sure to consider BE FORWARD’S wide selection of used tires.
If you’d like to read further on this topic, check out 4 Essential Tire Wear Problems You Can Diagnose at Home .