Though tires can be an afterthought, they are the critical contact point between your car and the road. Properly-inflated tires with plenty of tread increase fuel economy, and more importantly, might be the difference between avoiding trouble or running into it.
Car manufacturers now recommend replacing tires after 6 years. The composite material used to make your tire ages over time. As this material becomes compromised, the likelihood of blowouts and flats increases. This can be dangerous, especially if the blowout occurs at high speed.
How Do I Know How Old My Tires Are?
You can use the four-digit Department of Transportation (DOT) code on your tire wall to find out when the tire was manufactured. The first two numbers stand for the week in the year it was made, and the next two are for the year. For example, if your tire has “2516” printed on it, then it was manufactured in the 25th week of 2016.
It can be tricky to find the date code. Though it’s usually preceded by the initials DOT, there are sometimes other numbers and letters after DOT. Look for a set of four digits ending with two numbers that are recognizable as a year.
Don’t Tread Lightly
Of course, age isn’t the only reason to change your tires. The depth of the tread is also crucial. If you drive your car regularly, you will likely wear down the tread before your tires get too old. When you routinely stop and start quickly, drive in extreme temperatures, or on rough roads, your tires will show signs of wear even sooner.
Aside from giving you an uncomfortable ride, worn-down tires can cause you to slip on wet surfaces or might be the slim difference between a close call and an accident.
Here Comes The Change
A penny and quarter are your friends here. If you insert a penny into the tread and can see the top of Abe Lincoln’s head, you have less than 1/16th of an inch—less than the safe minimum to drive. When you use a quarter and see George Washington’s head, it means you have less than 1/8th of an inch of tread, which is more than the minimum safety standard but considered to be the time to start thinking about new rubber for your ride.
Treat Your Tires Right, and They’ll Treat You Right
In addition to taking it easy on the accelerator and brakes, proper tire maintenance can extend the lifespan of your tires. Be sure the air pressure is correct and stay up with tire rotations.
No matter how well you treat your tires, though, accidents happen. When they do, call the experts at Cline Collision Center. We are committed to integrity, honesty, safety, and craftsmanship. Whether you have major damage or need a quick fix to get you safely back on the road, choosing Cline Collision Center is no accident – contact us online or call 707-591-9909 today!