Tires don’t just get your car where it needs to go. Many times, they can help reduce how much you’re paying for gas at the pump, too. In fact, properly inflated tires can save an estimated 90 cents at the pump and get your car a better fuel economy by over 3 percent. If that doesn’t sound like all that much, consider the alternative.
Old tires can lead to lifetime of problems for your car, and plenty of those extend way past gasoline costs. New tires, on the other hand, keep your car running smoothly and help cut down on costs that might pop up along the way. Finding the right tires is really just a matter of checking your wheels’ vital signs. Here’s where you can start:
Warning Sign #1: Decreasing tire tread.
The golden number to remember is 1/16. That’s 1/16 of an inch, or 1.6 millimeters, and that’s how much tread you should always have on your tires. Folks in snowy or rainy areas might do well to double up on their tread in order to give themselves enough tire power for sudden stops and skids. That’s where snow tires can make a huge difference.
The Solution: But how do you figure out how much tread your tires have left? Grab a penny and place it directly in the tread. You shouldn’t be able to see President Lincoln’s entire head, but if you do, you know it’s time for new tires.
Warning Sign #2: Cracks, bulges and other boo-boos.
These are probably the easiest signs to spot because they tend to be so conspicuous. Obviously, a cracked tire is a prime candidate for tire replacement as is a tire with any other kinds of bulges or protrusions. These weak spots can make for dangerous travels and significantly up the chances your entire wheel could experience a blow-out.
The Solution: Pop into a tire shop and have the pros lend you their expert opinions. Ask for a quote right then and there, and if it’s a bit higher than you’d like, call another shop and get a comparison. Pick whichever is cheaper. The sooner you get your tires replaced, the safer you’ll be.
Warning Sign #3: Excessive vibration while driving.
A little bit of leeway is good for the car, but too much vibration can be a sign that something’s seriously wrong with your wheel and that you’re in need of new tires, pronto. Common causes of excessive vibration tend to be tires that are either misaligned or not completely balances, or it could just be something wrong with your shocks or struts. Either way, one bad part of the car affects the entire vehicle.
The Solution: Again, this one can’t quite be solved with a quick penny test. You might not know when to change your tires simply from observing the vibrations, but the experts at a local auto body shop certainly will.
When it comes to your car’s health, you really can’t leave anything to chance. Any warning signs for your tires should be checked out immediately. Remember to keep your change tray full of pennies! Get more on this here.