Tips For Inspecting Your Tires
May 29th, 2017
It’s way too easy to take your tires for granted and forget about them…right up to the point where you find yourself stranded someplace. It’s important to keep track of their condition, though, and know what trouble signs might be! Here’s a quick breakdown of the best ways to inspect your tires:
Closely examine the sidewalls and keep an eye out for bulges, cracking (some cracking due to age is normal), scrapes and gouges. The sidewalls' material is pretty tough and can stand up to curb scrapes, but use your own judgment as to what might be signs of more serious damage. You’ll know. Bulges, in particular, mean that tire failure is imminent.
Look closely at the tread surface and run your hand over the entire area to check for irregularities. A “feathered” or “sawtooth” feel to the tread face means shock absorber or suspension problems, as is a “cupped” profile. Check all the way around the entire tread face and be on the lookout for uneven wear at the outside or inside edge – this is an indicator of alignment problems. If your tires are showing signs of significant wear, be wary of steel belts or fabric cords being exposed. If you spot either, replace that tire right away – it’s at risk of failure soon.
Check the tires’ tread depth. You can find a special tread depth gauge for this job, but there’s a simpler way around it. Take a penny and stick it into the tread groove with Lincoln's head down. Does the rubber surface reach Lincoln’s head? If so, your tires are at 2/32” tread depth, the minimum required by state law, and are due for replacement right away. Try the coin test again with a quarter and see if the tread surface reaches Washington’s head. If so, you tread depth is 4/32”. Try the test again with a penny – will the tread surface touch the Lincoln Memorial? If so, your tires have 6/32” of tread. Also keep an eye out for wear indicators, the bars that are molded into the tread base, perpendicular to the grooves. If the wear bars are exposed and at the same level as the tread face, your tires need to be replaced right away.
Worn tires handle poorly, ride rougher and are downright dangerous when it comes to braking performance and wet-weather traction. If your tires are at that point, don’t delay – make an appointment with us at The Tire Terminal!