The cost of new tires is very minimal compared to the benefits they bring. Tires are the only part of your vehicle that makes contact with the road. This being the case, you should monitor their condition frequently and replace them accordingly. Here are five advantages of new tires:
Having a new set of tires will provide a cushion of safety for the next 65,000 to 100,000 miles of the vehicle's life (depending on the tire tread-wear rating). At the same time, new tires increase the ability of your vehicle to stop, go and turn. For around $400 every seven years, you can have brand new tires—a very small premium to maintain a safe and healthy driving experience.
The distance it takes for your car to come to a stop, or the speed at which you can enter a turn all depends on the quality of your tires. They determine how much power your vehicle can put to the ground, and whether or not you can brake fast enough to safely control it. Most tires are performance-oriented and are made from stickier compounds with aggressive tread designs. Be sure to choose a tire in the performance category that you intend on using it for (i.e. summer, all-year, racing).
Better Gas Mileage
The condition of your tires can drastically affect your gas. If you have a set of worn out tires with an uneven tread pattern, your gas mileage will suffer because your car must work harder to put its power to the ground. For best results, have your tires properly mounted, balanced and always be sure to inflate them to the proper pressure. Also, each time you replace worn-out tires, have your vehicle aligned by a professional mechanic. This will ensure that your new tires do not get worn out prematurely and provide you with the best gas mileage possible.
The way your tires perform in different road and weather conditions (like snow, rain, dirt and mud) greatly depends on their compound and tread life. Softer tires with "meatier" tread patterns are great for the snow and mud but will hurt your performance and gas mileage in the summer. The best option is to find a tire that meets all of your driving specifications. If you live in an area with four seasons, it may be best to have two sets of tires (that can be easily swapped depending on the season) to improve your safety and efficiency in different weather conditions. If you live in a hot and rainy environment, then a more performance-styled tire with a soft water tread will be more beneficial to your traction needs. Either way, do a little research to see what will work best for you.
A Better Driving Experience
Finally, the last benefit of a new set of tires is how they can make you feel. New tires with deeper functioning treads and designs are great for long trips because they provide the driver with a smoother ride. Also, new tires are less noisy when compared to worn out tires. Both of these factors are huge for those who have a long morning commute or frequently take long highway trips. Loud and uncomfortable tires can turn a vacation drive into a nightmare very quickly.
How to Tell If You Need New Tires
There are two main reasons that tires typically need to be replaced.
Don't wait until your tread has been worn completely from the surface of your tires before you get around to replacing them. This is commonly known as "bald" tires and is a very dangerous condition. Tires are generally rated to last a set amount of miles when you buy them. However other factors can reduce the service life of your tires, such as driving conditions and habits.
Many states have laws requiring car tires to carry a minimum amount of tread depth to be legal on the road. That is because bald tires have a very hard time maintaining traction, especially in wet conditions. In short, they're unsafe. If new tires are a purchase that may stretch your budget to the breaking point, then your best bet is to plan for the extra cost. Keep track of your tire's wear levels.
Ask the mechanic at the service station to measure and record the tread depth of your tires when you change your oil. That will give you plenty of warning when it's almost time to get them replaced. You can also perform a check yourself. You don't need anything fancy like a tread depth gauge. All you need is a penny. Hold the penny so that Lincoln's head is facing the surface of the tire, and place the penny in several of the tread grooves in different places on each tire. As a rule of thumb, if the tread is deeper than the top of Lincoln's head, you're ok. However, if you're anywhere close you might want to start making plans for replacement.
Unfortunately it isn't a perfect world, and tires don't last for their whole service life all the time. Often road damage sends tires into retirement long before their intended service life is over. The most common road damage is a fault in the tire's sidewall. Once the sidewall of the tire is compromised, the tire is at very high risk for blowout. Look for bubbles in the rubber of the sidewall, it will generally look like a marble or small ball buried under the rubber surface of the tire. Also check the sidewalls for chips and cuts in the rubber.
Sidewall damage is irreparable. You will always have to replace a tire whose sidewall has been damaged. You can also inspect the tread of the tire for deep cuts or faults, but generally you only have to worry about this part of the tire if a problem has become apparent while you are driving (i.e. excessive vibration at speed).