Knowing when to replace your tires is an important safety consideration. Although most tires come with a warranty that provides you with an approximate lifespan, usage, road conditions, maintenance, and even the weather can shorten or lengthen the life of the tire. Knowing the signs of a possible issue can prevent you from having a flat or a dangerous blowout.

Sign #1: Low Tread

For tires that have been properly maintained and treated well, low tread is the usual indicator that the tires have reached the end of their life. The old method for checking the tire tread was to stick a penny between the treads, head first, and if the tread didn't reach Lincoln's head it was time for new tires. Fortunately, you don't need to look for spare change under the seats to check the tread anymore. Tires now have bars of rubber within the tread valleys, which are called wear bars. If the tread has worn down to the level of these bars, it is time for new tires.

Sign #2: Sidewall Damage

Sidewall damage is the dangerous type of damage – the type that can lead to a blowout on the highway. Check the sides of the tires for cracks or bulges. A bulge may mean that the tire is simply low on air, or it could indicate that the inside of the tire is breaking down. Cracks generally occur after the tire has been damaged, either by weathering or from being driven routinely when the tire pressure was low. Generally, this sort of damage means it is time for immediate replacement.

Sign #3: Uneven Wear

This can happen when the car's alignment is off, or if you fail to regularly rotate the tires on the vehicle. Checking for uneven wear is as simple as looking at those wear bars between the treads to make sure the rubber is wearing down at the same rate across the width of the tire. Another symptom of uneven wear occurs when you are actually driving – the ride may feel a bit bumpy if the tread is uneven.

Sign #4: Poor Pressure

Tires can loose air, generally due to external temperature fluctuations or from driving on rough or bumpy surfaces. If you find yourself airing up often and temperatures have been fairly consistent and the roads are smooth, you may have a slow leak somewhere. This could leave you with a flat at an inopportune time. In some cases, a leak can be repaired, while in other cases you will need a new tire. If you suspect a leak, take your car in to a tire store to have it inspected. If you need tires, contact a business, such as F & H Tire Co.