How Often Should I Replace My Tires?

February 22, 2019 | Recycling, Tires

Switching out your tires is an important part of routine car maintenance, and will help keep you safe on the road. But how often should you change your tires?

This question might seem easy enough, but you’d be surprised at how many conflicting answers you’re likely to get. Some people may have a vested interest in getting you to waste money by advising you switch out your tires more often than necessary. Others take a more dangerous, neglectful approach and only replace tires when they get an actual flat or blowout.

If you’re “tired” of getting the wrong advice, here are a few helpful guidelines on when you should switch out the rubber that meets the road.

Check the “wear bars”.

Modern tires made by reputable manufacturers that follow international safety standards will have wear bars that allow you to check how much your tire has worn out. These bars are perpendicular to the tire tread, and you shouldn’t be able to see them immediately if the tire is new. As the treads wear down, you should be able to see the wear bars more easily. When the wear bars are level to the treads, it’s an indication that you may have to change your tires soon.

Use a penny to check tread depth

Let’s say you’re skeptical about the tire bars and think they’re just a way for manufacturers to sell you more tires. Another popular way to check if the treads are getting worn down is to use a penny, hold onto it, and stick it in the tread, with the top of Abe Lincoln’s head pointing down towards the tire. If you can see the head, you should probably change your tires out ASAP.

When the sidewalls show cracking or bulging.

While still pretty tough, the tire’s sidewalls are a lot less robust than the treads. However, they are still important to the overall integrity of your tire. If you see that there are any weird bulges or cracks in your tire’s sidewalls, it may be time to switch out that tire, even if the treads still show plenty of life. These signs are definitely a blowout or perhaps a serious accident waiting to happen, and you should try to have your tire changed out as soon as you notice them.

When you’ve been using the same vehicle daily for more than 5 years or 60,000 miles.
Tires are extremely durable, but they do have an expiry date. For most manufacturers, it’s about 5-6 years of daily use. After a few years, the chemical compounds in the rubber that make it pliable and grippy may have already mostly left the outside surface of the tires, making them more brittle and less safe to use on wet surfaces. Likewise, if the tires have seen a lot of use, you should certainly consider changing them out, even if the treads look fine, as the surfaces are likely to have already degraded.

When you do switch out tires, be sure to send your old tires to a professional recycler like Western Tire Recyclers. This will allow your old tires to have new life in different applications, reducing the strain on the environment rather than piling up unused in landfills.


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