Unless you work within the automobile industry, or are a car aficionado, chances are you don’t spend your days thinking about tires or tire prices. Even still, if you own a car, buying new tires is an inescapable chore. When you consider that your safety weighs heavily on the quality of your tires, then you start to view buying tires as an investment, rather than an expense.
When Do You Need to Buy New Tires?
Let’s face it, tires aren’t cheap! Few people actually enjoy buying a new set of tires, but it may be time to update your tread. So how can you tell when you need to buy new tires? There are a few telltale signs that it is time to replace your tires.
Wear & Tear: When it comes to tire replacement, there is a discrepancy between what car manufacturers and tire companies suggest. Car dealers generally recommend that you replace your tires every six years, while tire manufacturers advocate for every ten years. Keep in mind that there are specific tire replacement guidelines that are offered by the brand of tire you buy as well.
The Tire Penny Test: Sounds a little whacky, doesn’t it? Well, it isn’t. Grab a penny, and with Lincoln’s head facing down, insert the penny into the tread on your tires (see picture above). If the rubber DOES NOT cover at least half of Lincoln’s face, then your tires need to be replaced. Repeat this around the circumference of each tire to check for the depths of the tread on your tires.
Tread Wear Indicator: Did you know that your tires have a ‘wear and tear’ indicator built into the design? These cleverly placed bars are virtually invisible when the tires are brand new, but gradually start to appear as the tread wears down. If these bars start to become visible and appear on one or more of your tires, then it is time to start shopping for new tires.
How to Buy the Best Tires at a Fair Price
Just like buying a new mattress, tires are a commitment. Choose wisely, or it could haunt you in the long-term. When pricing new tires you shouldn’t aim too low. Now, that isn’t to say there aren’t good deals on quality tires out there, but this is one instance when “get what you pay for” rings true.
Try buying tires online. Sounds a bit odd, but you may find more affordable tires online. Same brands, just minus the installation fee. Secret shoppers reported that Amazon had the best prices on new tires. If you are to choose the online option for buying tires, you’ll need to do your homework and read the reviews extensively. The only drawback about buying tires online is that you don’t have a sales associate there to answer all of your questions. You may be getting a bargain, but you’ll have to be dead-set on the exact type of tire you are aiming to buy. Other places that have been known for having affordable tires is Costco and Walmart.
Did your old tires treat you right? Consider buying the same brand of tire that you used to have, especially if they were good to you while they lasted. If your old tires kept you safe, hugged the road, and lasted you a long time, then they were probably the right tires for you. You might not need different tires, just new tires. There is nothing wrong with sticking to the familiar if you had a good experience with that tire brand.