Car Tech

Do I need new tires? Tips for how you can tell

Tips for Using New Tires

One question that new car owners, and even seasoned driving veterans, often ask themselves is how do I know that I need new tires? If you ask this question to 10 people, you’ll get 10 different answers! That’s because there is no exact way of knowing when your tires need to be replaced but there are a few metrics that can help you determine if it’s time.

If you’re wondering if it’s time to change the tires of your own vehicle, take a look at some of these helpful tips!

Useful Tips for Using New Tires

5 years minimum, 10 years maximum

The general rule of thumb is that every 5 years your tires should be thoroughly inspected by a professional to make sure that they are still safe for driving. After ten years, if you haven’t replaced your tires yet you should start thinking about doing so. This will also depend on how well you’ve taken care of them, including the climate and road conditions local to your area.

If it’s time to start thinking about new tires, make sure you always buy from a qualified expert like Tire Rack. Not only will you find premium tires from all your favorite brands, but you can also book appointments with professionals for tire inspections. With this Tire Rack coupon, you can even save on your next pair!

Inspect your tires

While you should always have your tires professional checked, there are a few visual clues of tire wear that you should keep a look out for yourself:

  • Damaged thread
  • Uneven thread
  • Nails, rocks or other debris
  • Damaged valve caps

If you notice any of the above signs, have your tires inspected immediately.


The general rule is that most tires can last 25,000 to 50,000 miles before they need to be replaced. If you’re not sure how old your tires are, check for the four digit Department of Transportation identification number on the side of your tire wall. The last 2 digits of this 4 digit code reveal the year your tires were manufactured.

Check the user manual that came with your car for recommendations on how long your tires will last. Remember, it’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to tire replacement! Although new tires can be pricey, driving on unsafe tires puts you and others on the road at risk.

Improper usage

Improperly using your tires will shorten their lifespan. If you’re guilt of any of the following, you should have your tires inspected or replace them:

  • Driving with different tire sizes
  • Using wheel and rim sizes that aren’t compatible
  • Reinflation a tire that was once flat
  • Driving on a spare tire that is different than the others at over 50mph
  • Driving with summer tires in snowy or icy conditions

Any of these practices can drastically reduce the lifespan of your tires. To ensure your safety, have your tires inspected if you’ve been guilty of any of these improper uses.

Tread wear test

Did you know that you can use a penny to help you determine if your tires are still safe? To try it, take a penny and insert it into the middle thread of your tire, with Abraham Lincoln’s head facing inwards. If your tire tread is even with the bottom of Lincoln’s head, your tires should be replaced right away.

Remember, driving on thread bear tires can be dangerous! As tires become worn out, they can no longer properly grip the ground and this can lead to a dangerous situation called hydroplaning. Hydroplaning is so common and dangerous that the National Institute of Health believes driving trainer courses should be revised to include more information about driving safely in wet conditions. Follow the tips listed above to make sure that your tires are still safe!

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