When To Replace Your Tires, And How To Do It Properly

man changing a car tire

You will eventually need to replace your tires. It’s a fact of car ownership. As the tread wears on your tires, so will its grip and performance. 

This affects all aspects of driving including acceleration, steering, and braking. 

Generally you’ll need to replace tires on three occasions. After your tires have worn out down past their usable tread depth, past the useful age life of the tires, and when you experience a flat or blowout.

The key is figuring out when these will happen and the symptoms that reveal when it’s time to change your tires.

Effects Of Bad Tires

Effects of worn tires may not be immediately evident at first, but wait too long and they’ll make themselves known in a hurry. 

Your car will be slower to accelerate and slower to stop. Less grip goes both ways. 

The tread on your tires is meant to create a certain amount of contact on the ground. Less tread means less contact.

Let’s not forget that we don’t just go in straight lines. Tread wear can cause more oversteer and understeer in turns. 

Check out the video below by Car Throttle to get an understanding of what oversteer and understeer is. 

Essentially your car will want to do either of two things when turning. It will kick out the back end causing you to spin or, it won’t turn in enough and you’ll slide going straight ahead instead of the direction you wanted to go. Either way, not what you wanted.

The type of tire you use also greatly impacts your car’s driving characteristics. Different tires, wear differently. It’s essential to know what your car has.

Specific Tires Specific Attributes

Certain tire designs affect wet grip, dry grip, and everything in between. Each tire is designed for a specific function. That can be terrain, specific vehicles, temperature, even weather.

For example winter tires have a softer compound to provide grip in snow and ice. Used accordingly in the right conditions (only in winter!), they can last many years. However if you do it wrong and run these tires on dry hot asphalt, they wont even make a full season.

There are tons of different tire groups. To determine which tires you have check out this link at discount tire to see which tires fit your vehicle.

The reason you need to know which type of tire you have/need is so you understand how fast they wear and what the procedure is to replace your tires.

replace your tires
Tread On A New Tire

How To Replace Tires For Your Car

First things first, if you can, try to replace all 4 tires at the same time. It’ll make things much easier to keep track of for one. 

Second, it’s the recommended practice because different tires may not be compatible and could drastically change the way your vehicle drives.

However, let’s say you just can’t spend the money right now and you need to replace just one set of tires because your car is either FWD or RWD. 

If you HAVE to replace a pair, put it on the rear axle. No matter if your car is FWD or RWD. Choosing this provides the safer understeer scenario in the event of traction loss. 

If your car is FWD and your steer tires are worn, have the rear wheels rotated to the front and the worn tires replaced and put on in the rear.

4WD? Replace all four tires!

Lastly try to choose the same type and brand of tires for all 4 wheels. Even if you’re replacing just one tire. 

Tires are meant to work together. Having mismatched tires can wear out all your tires faster, ruin your fuel economy, in some extreme cases even damage wheel bearings and suspension. 

Maintaining Tires

Lastly you want to keep up with your tire maintenance. It doesn’t involve much more than checking your air pressure and glancing at the tread.

Rotate your tires with oil changes to keep it simple, and avoid parking your car for very extended(6 months+) periods of time to avoid flat spots.

In Sum

Tires are simple yet essential to our cars. Easily overlooked but maintaining them is vital.

Now, when you inevitably do need to replace your tires, you’ll know why and how to do them properly.

Looking for other maintenance tips? Check out the guide here on how to thoroughly maintain your vehicle.

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