Are you not sure how to tell if you need new tires? Do you know how long they tend to last on average? If not, there are a few things that you need to know that will keep you safe and sound when driving your vehicle.

So when are you supposed to change your tires? Keep reading to learn more!

Depth of the Tread

Tire tread is measured per 1/32ths of an inch. When your tires are new, the tread should be between 9/32 to 11/32 of an inch. As you drive your car, the tread begins to wear down and the depth will begin to lower closer to the main rubber of the tire.

You should check your tread depth regularly to catch it before it drops below 4/32. When your tread drops to about 2/32, your tires are now unsafe. To check the tread depth, you should use a tire gauge for an accurate measurement.

Testing at Home

If you don’t have a tire gauge handy to check your tread, you can use the penny test to get an idea of where your tread is. Holding the penny with Abraham Lincoln’s head pointing to the tire, slide the penny in between the tread to measure it. The tread is the widest groove, in the middle of your tire, that wraps around it.

Once you have the penny inserted into the tread, you should look to see how high the rubber is on his portrait. Check several different locations of tread on your tires, for consistency, and if at any point you can see the top of Abraham Lincoln’s head, then your tires need to be replaced.

Tire Lifespan

Most tires can last between 5 to 10 years, depending on how much you drive your vehicle and how heavy the load is that the tires bear on average. When you start nearing the 5-year mark on your tires, you should have them inspected by a qualified service professional to help you judge their health.

If you have a spare tire for your vehicle, it should also be inspected at the same time. Spare tires can also deteriorate, even if they aren’t used often, and will not be very effective when you need them if they also need replacing.

If you aren’t sure how old your tire is, the week and year it was manufactured are stamped on the sidewall. It is the four-digit number following the model information.

There are other factors besides the time that will lead to your wheels aging. The components of your tires, such as the rubber, age over time due to different environmental conditions. These can be either extreme heat and humidity or from the cold and snow.

Sidewall cuts or cracking is a sign that the rubber is degrading. The cracking is generally caused by harsh sunlight and heat. Cuts are usually caused by damage on the road by being hit by a rock or something else that is sharp.


Your tires might become damaged at some point and this will result in needing a replacement. If there are bulges or bubbles, then this is an indication that the internal frame was damaged and air pressure has seeped out into the outer layers.

If you have driven over a nail or sharp rock, you might have punctured a hole or had the nail become embedded into the wheel. If the nail had become embedded, then you may not notice that there is an air leak right away. The hole might allow moisture to seep into the tire which might create rust on the steel parts.

The area of the tire surrounding the embedded nail will eventually weaken and can cause your tire to blowout while driving. This can be a dangerous situation for you and your passengers if it happens while moving at a fast speed. This is why, it is important to inspect your tires every so often to avoid issues like these.

Vibrating Steering Wheel

If you can feel your steering wheel vibrating while you are driving, this is a sign that your tires have been wearing unevenly. They might have been worn unevenly if they are unbalanced. They might become unbalanced over time if they haven’t been rotated regularly.

If you notice vibrating in your steering wheel, take your car in to have the tires rotated. If the vibrating doesn’t stop, this means your tires have permanent damage and it is time to replace them. If you need standard tires, you can find those or the best fuel wheels for larger vehicles online.

Tread Wear Bars

As your tires begin to wear out, you will start to see the tread wear bars. These bars are easy to see on your tire and are located on an even level with the tread.

The bars can be seen either running across the entire wheel or they will form between the treads. If you see these bars becoming exposed, you should schedule a tire replacement soon.


Most tires have a lifespan of 25,000 to 50,000 miles before they will need to be replaced. Each vehicle is different though, so you will want to refer to the owner’s manual to see what their recommendations are for your car.

To get the most mileage you can out of your set of wheels, you should make sure to perform routine tire maintenance. Check the tire pressure often, adjust the alignment when needed, and rotate the tires to keep them from wearing unevenly.

When Are You Supposed to Change Your Tires? Now You Know

Are you still asking yourself, “When are you supposed to change your tires?” There are several ways to tell if they need to be replaced. The main points are the age of the tires, the depth of the tread, if there is any visible damage, how many miles have been driven on them, and if the steering wheel is vibrating.

If have any of these issues, then it is time to replace your wheels before they get worse.

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