Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

How Can I Tell If My Tires Are in Good Shape?

tires in good shape

Car tires only have a certain service life. A vehicle must always have tires that are suitable for normal driving conditions. Many people who live in colder climates have two sets of tires - one for winter and one for the rest of the year. Keeping your tires in good condition is imperative for keeping your car operating as safely as possible; if your have worn treads you won't make as good contact with the ground which will delay braking time. Knowing what to look for in the quality of your tires will let you know when it's time to replace them.

A tire may be unsafe or usable due to several factors:

  • Dry-rot: The tire has good tread, but has cracks in the side walls know as “weather checking” or “dry-rot.” This usually occurs later in the tire’s life and can happen if a vehicle is parked frequently outside in high temperatures.

  • The tires are made of different layers: As the tire gets older, or is damaged, the tire can start to come apart, developing problematic bulges that affect your drivability.

  • Suspension alignment problems: The tires will wear out if the suspension is aligned incorrectly, which can pose a serious safety hazard.

To keep your tires in good health, the following routine maintenance activities are a must:

  • Check your tire tread to detect wear: Try the penny test. Insert it in the tread with Lincoln’s head upside-down. If you cannot see Lincoln’s hair, then your tread is in good health. Consider new tires if you see his hair, and replace them if you see his head.

  • Look for tread-wear indicators: These are bars of hard rubber that only appear on worn-down tires. If these indicators appear in two or three places, it’s time to replace your tire.

  • Look for items lodged in the tire: These can include nails, small stones, or thumb tacks. If you hear a hissing sound when you pull out a nail, push it back in quickly and get the tire fixed. Tires with leaks should be patched by a professional.

  • Look at the sidewalls: Check for scuffed or worn areas, bulges, and holes.

Read more about knowing when to replace a tire and be sure to have a certified mechanic, such as one from YourMechanic, inspect the tires for uneven wear to check that your vehicle is in need of new tires.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Icon-warranty_badge-02

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

More related articles

How Long Does a Fuel Filler Neck Last?
Getting gas from the pump to your gas tank is the only way to keep a car going. The fuel filler neck is a metal tube that is welded to the...
How Long Does a Throttle Return Spring Last?
Not all vehicles on the road feature an electronic throttle control (ETC), which is also called drive-by-wire. For vehicles that don't offer this system, they have a throttle cable instead that...
Auto Safety Tips
Driving is more than a way to get from point A to point B. Owning and driving a car can also be a highly enjoyable experience. Whether a person is driving...


Related questions

Q: What Should I Do If My Tire Has a Nail In It?

Getting a nail or other foreign object stuck in your tire can be irritating. Most of the time we do not notice that a puncture has occurred until we come out to the vehicle and the tire is flat. There...

Q: Damaged suspension hitting curb

Generally, such collision repairs are performed by body shops but any certified mechanic will be able to inspect the front suspension to find anything that has shifted with the accident. Any of the suspension components could be bent or damaged...

Q: Is it a Good Idea to Get Oversized Wheels and Tires for My Car or Truck?

Your vehicle was initially designed with a specific wheel and tire combination that the manufacturer of the vehicle felt was best suited for safety and performance. Many times, the wheels and tires that come with a vehicle may seem too...