How To Inspect Your Tires
It’s so easy to take your tires for granted and never give them much thought…right up to the point where you something goes wrong and you end up stranded. It only takes a couple of minutes, though, to keep track of their condition and spot any trouble signs. This is a quick breakdown on the best ways to inspect your tires:
*Get a close look at the sidewalls and examine them for bulges, cracking (some cracking due to age is normal), scrapes and gouges. The material of sidewalls is pretty tough and isn't really damaged much by curb scrapes, but use your gut feeling as to what could indicate more serious damage. You’ll know. Bulges in particular could mean that tire failure is imminent.
*Closely examine the tread surface and run your hand over the entire area to feel for irregularities. A "sawtooth" or "feathered" profile to the tread face means shock absorber or suspension problems, as is a “cupped” surface. Check the tread face all the way around and be on the lookout for uneven wear at the outside or inside edge – this indicates alignment problems and possibly worn steering components. If your tires are showing signs of significant wear, look for any steel belts or fabric cords that might be exposed. If you spot either, replace that tire right away, because it's undoubtedly going to fail soon.
*Check the tread depth of the tires. You can find a special tread depth gauge for this job, but you won't really need one. Take a penny and stick it into the tread groove with Lincoln's head down. Does the rubber surface reach the top of Abe's head? If so, your tires are at 2/32” tread depth, the minimum required by state law, and don't have much service life left. Try the coin test again with a quarter and see if the tread surface reaches Washington’s head. If so, you tread depth is 4/32”. Try the test again with a penny – if the tread surface touches the Lincoln Memorial, your tires have 6/32” of tread. Also keep an eye out for wear indicators, the bars that are molded into the tread base, at a right angle to the grooves. If the wear bars are exposed and at the same level as the tread face, your tires need to be replaced right away.
Worn tires handle poorly, ride rougher and are downright dangerous when it comes to braking performance and wet-weather traction. If your tires are at that point, don’t delay – make an appointment with us at Discount Tire Thousand Oaks!