Mechanic standing in a car shop while holding a tire

When Should I Get My Tires Replaced?

How to Tell When You Need New Tires on Your Vehicle

Regardless of how often you drive your vehicle, your tires will need to get replaced at some point. However, it’s not always obvious when you should get your tires replaced. How much tread should I watch for? What is the recommended amount of time I can go? If I don’t drive my car, can I go even longer without replacing the tires? Here, we will discuss when you should get your tires replaced.

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Person pointing at low tread on a car tire

Check the Tread Level

The first thing you should check when looking for wear and tear is the tread level. As a vehicle gets used, the tread level will slowly decline. Once the tread gets too low, it becomes dangerous to drive as you won’t get the traction you need, regardless of the weather conditions. You are also more vulnerable to blowouts as there is less protection from sharp objects and the tire won’t be able to hold the optimal tire pressure.

To check your tread level, take a quarter and place it into the tread with the president’s head facing you and the top of the head facing down. If the tread covers the head, you still have enough tread. If you can see the top of the head, you need to start shopping around for new tires right away.

Cracks on an old tire

Consider the Age

Assuming that your tread level looks healthy, you then need to consider the age of the tires. Due to tires being made of rubber, that rubber will crack and lose its elasticity with age. For example, old rubber bands get cracked and break easily if you try to stretch them. Sometimes, the cracks are on the inside, while other times you can see them on the surface. This creates a very dangerous situation if you decide to drive with old tires as the rubber can snap and you may lose full control of your vehicle.

So, how long should you go before replacing the tires? Most drivers drive frequently enough where they replace their tires every three to four years, so age isn’t usually an issue. For drivers that drive infrequently or have stored their vehicle for quite some time, you should plan to replace your tires after five years. If you purchased the vehicle and have no idea how old the tires are, we recommend being safe and replacing the tires. Always make sure to keep records of your tire purchases so you know exactly how old your tires are.

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