Like a Doctor, But For Your Car

3 Signs You Should Replace Your Tires Early

When you buy your tires, they usually come with an expected lifespan from the manufacturer. While the relative longevity of modern tires can be comforting, you shouldn't take it for granted. Tire lifespan can vary greatly depending on road conditions and driver habits.

If your tires are more than a couple of years old, then you may need to start watching out for the warning signs of replacement. These three indicators will tell you that it may be time to buy a new set from a tire shop, even if you think your current tires have many more miles to go.

1. They're Old

Tires don't last forever, even if you don't drive on them. Typical consumer tires have a lifespan of a few years, after which the rubber can become hard and brittle. Old tires provide less traction than new tires, and cracks or other damage can result in catastrophic failure. If your vehicle is rolling around on tires more than five years old, it may be time to buy some replacements.

2. You Have Suspension Problems

Under regular use, tires wear in an even pattern that stretches horizontally across the tread. Since the geometry of the tire's contact patch remains consistent, no one section of tread becomes more worn than any other part. Unfortunately, this is no longer true if your car suffers from suspension issues.

When your car's suspension is failing, the extra bouncing motion can cause your tires to wear in a pattern known as cupping. Cupping produces seemingly random areas of unusual wear. If left for long enough, this wear pattern will force you to replace your tire even if there's still plenty of tread elsewhere.

3. The Tread Is Worn

Hard braking, acceleration, and cornering can all wear tires much more quickly than usual, as can harsh road conditions. It's worth checking your tire's tread depth using the penny test at least once or twice per year, even if your tires aren't old and your suspension is in good shape. If the tread is below the minimum safe depth, it's time for new tires.

Your tires keep you safe by providing the traction you need to accelerate, stop, and corner at all speeds. When your tires wear out, your car becomes less safe for you and those around you. Once you discover that your tires are too old or too worn, always visit a reputable tire dealer for a replacement set as soon as possible.