Well-maintained tyres are essential for keeping you safe on the road. Having damaged tyres can make you lose control of your vehicle and cause serious injuries to yourself, your passengers and other road users. As a result, it’s essential that you understand how to check the condition of your tyres. Knowing the right time to replace your tyres can save you money and, in some cases, save your life.
So, here are five signs your tyres need to be replaced.
If you start noticing some of these signs, it’s best to visit your local car service centre as soon as you can and get a certified mechanic to assess your tyres properly. This will prevent further damage and ensure that your tyres are working optimally.
1. Worn Tread
The tyre tread is the only part of your car that makes contact with the road. It provides traction and makes sure your vehicle remains stable when going through different road conditions. If your tread starts wearing down, your vehicle will start to lose traction.
The groove (or the pattern) in the tread is designed to funnel water through the tyres. With a worn down tread, however, all that water will gather between your wheels and the road, causing hydroplaning. This causes your car’s traction to diminish and makes you lose control of your vehicle.
Luckily, tyres have tread wear indicators. These are small bars placed in the groove of the tread and are perpendicular to the direction in which the tyres rotate. With new tyres, you won’t be able to see these indicators as they will be buried deep in the pattern. When tyres begin to wear down, however, these indicators will start to appear and make contact with the road. So, if you start seeing those indicators making its mark on wet tracks, it’s a sign that you need your tyres replaced.
In Australia, it’s required that you have at least 1.5 mm of tread depth. However, for your own safety, we recommended that you replace your tyres before they reach that 1.5mm minimum.
Of course, some vibrations are normal when driving. Rough roads and a running engine are often the source of the shaking that you feel on the road. However, if you’re noticing unusual amounts of vibration, it might be due to faulty tyres.
Your tyres can cause bad vibrations in several ways. First, it could be that your wheels are bent. This prevents your wheels from rotating in a perfect circle, causing a noticeably bumpy ride. Second, if your wheels are misaligned, your tyres will start to wear unevenly. This unevenness will cause unusual vibrations, even when driving on smooth roads. Lastly, it’s also possible that your tyre tread has separated from the wheel.
Whatever the case, it’s best to see a professional to get the problem properly diagnosed. The vibrations might be due to a more complicated issue with the suspension system, which can create problems for you while steering the vehicle.
3. Bulges and Blisters
Another thing to look out for are bulges. These bulging blisters occur when too much pressure from the inside of the tyres reaches the outer surface.
There are two common reasons for this. The first reason is that parts of your tyre’s outer surface are starting to weaken. These weakened areas often bulge out as they are not able to withstand the internal pressure coming from the tyre. The second common cause is a damaged internal frame. A faulty internal frame will allow air pressure to escape and reach the flexible surface of your tyres.
Regardless, these blisters have the potential to blow out when you’re driving, which can be dangerous to not only yourself but other drivers as well. Driving with blisters and bulges can also make you vulnerable to getting flat tyres.
So, if you notice your tyres starting to bulge, it’s best to visit a car mechanic as soon as you can. Doing so can prevent further damage and prevent you from spending more money spent on repairs. More importantly, consulting with a mechanic as soon as your notice bulges can also keep you safe from major accidents.
To avoid bulges and blisters, be careful not to mount kerbs and drive through areas with a lot of potholes. Also, it’s good to regularly check your tyres for visible damage.
4. Cracked Sidewalls
Cracked sidewalls is another visible sign that your tyres need replaced. Due to the constant exposure to UV light and other environmental factors, the rubber that your tyres are made out of will eventually break down.
These cracks can lead to leaks, which in turn, will cause your sidewalls to weaken. In some cases, your tyre tread might even separate from the wheel.
To avoid the disasters on the road, we recommended visiting your local auto repair shop as soon as you notice these cracks.
5. Old Tyres
Even if you haven’t noticed any of the signs above, if your tyres are getting there in age, it might be worth getting them checked by a mechanic.
If your tyres are around five-years old, it’s a good idea to get them checked at least once a year. However, if your tyres have reached 10 years of age, you need to get them replaced immediately. This applies even if your tyres are not showing the signs above.
To check the age of your tyres, have a look at one of the sidewalls. There you will find the Tyre Identification Number (TIN). The last three to four digits of this number will give you the age of your tyres.
If a tyre has the digits ‘1516’, it means it was manufactured on the 15th week of 2016. If it has three digits, it means that tyre was manufactured before the 2000s. For example, a tyre with a TIN ending in ‘138’ was made on the 13th week of 1998.
Your tyres keep you moving on the road. They also keep you safe. If you start noticing the signs listed above, or if your tyres are getting there in age, make sure you visit your local car service centre and get them replaced as soon as possible. Consulting a mechanic early might even save you from having to pay for more expensive repairs in the future. So, check your tyres and keep yourself and other motorists safe on the road.