Decide When and How to Replace Your Tires | Scott's Fort Collins Auto

Decide When and How to Replace Your Tires

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tires - when to replace

Selecting new tires is an important decision that affects safety and handling on the road. For the best results, make sure you buy the right tires for your car. Not sure where to start? Just follow these tips.

How Long Have You Had Your Tires?

One of the first questions to ask when determining if you need new tires is how long have you had them. While road conditions, how you maintain your tires, and your driving habits (do you commute) all affect the lifespan of your tires, most tires start to expire after a certain number of miles.

Regardless of the number of miles your tires are carrying, the fact is that rubber ages regardless. Tires should be professionally inspected once a year after you’ve had them for five years.

If 10 years have passed since you replaced your tires, even if they seem okay, they should be replaced as a precaution.  Don’t forget to replace your spare tire as well after 10 years–even if you have never used it.

What Affects the Lifespan of Your Tires?

The mileage you can expect from your tires depends on a combination of factors. Other than age, these factors are listed below.

Conditions of the Road

Bumped a curb recently? Hit a pothole? How about gravel or dirt roads? Did you know that all of these events affect how long your tires last for you. Other things to consider, driving through oil, grease or other chemicals on the road.


Have you ever seen your tire indicator light turn on during cold weather? For every 10 degrees of temperature drop, tires will drop 1-2 pounds of pressure. Conversely, in heat, tire pressure can temporarily increase. For every 10 degrees of increased temperature, your tires can be expected to increase by 1-2 pounds of pressure. This flux that your tires go through in different climates can put extra stress on them. As a side note, it is important to keep your tires within the recommended PSI to maintain traction, handling and durability.

Other climate factors that can take a toll are allowing the tires to sit in direct sunlight– it causes the rubber to break down sooner as well. Driving on wet, snowy and icy roads covered in de-icer can also impact your tires’ lifespan.

How You Drive….

Are you guilty of quick, jolting starts and stops? These spontaneous movements create added friction between your tires and the road, which takes a toll on the rubber of the tire faster. Surpassing the tire’s speed capacity (or load index ) could even result in your tires failing on while you are driving. If you notice any changes in how your car is handling, any abnormal noises or vibration, it’s important to have a service professional inspect your car to ensure your tires are safe and still serving you well.

Regular Maintenance

When it comes to your tires, think about all they are supporting. Think about how important they are to your safety on the road. Possibly more than any other part of your car, your tires should be regularly inspected and maintained.  Air pressure needs to be adjusted when it is out of range. Assess your tires to make sure you don’t dismiss excessive wear or damage. (Not sure what this looks like, ask a Scott’s Fort Collins Auto specialist.)

Every time you have your oil changed, make sure you have them also rotate your tires, align them and balance them.

Don’t forget that for different seasons, you should change out your tires. Winter tires are important for winter conditions. Unused tires should be stored in a cool, dry place until they are reinstalled.  

Winter vs. Summer Tires

Are all tires the same? Is it okay to use winter tires in summer and summer tires in winter? The answer is a resounding no. Snow and ice require a different type of tread to keep you safe and to be more resilient to chemicals on the road.

Mixing Tire Types and Sizes

It is also important to choose tires that are compatible with your wheel and rim sizes. Avoid mixing tire types as well. Cars need to have a balanced base to run safely and efficiently.

Spare tires are just that, spares.  They aren’t designed to become your every-day tire. Driving at speeds in excess of 50 miles per hour with a spare tire of a different size could damage the rest of your tires.

Tire Tread – How Do You Measure It?

You can check your tire treat at home by using the penny technique. To do this, insert the penny into one of the grooves with Lincoln facing downward. If part of his head is covered, your tires still have some life left in them. If Lincoln’s entire head is visible above the groove, the tire is worn out and needs to be replaced. Repeat the test in several grooves of all four tires to find out whether they pass or fail.

Examining the tread of your tires is the easiest way to assess if they need to be replaced. If your tires are worn beyond the recommended tread depth level (2/32 of an inch) it’s time to replace them.  Don’t feel comfortable assessing your tire health by yourself? Not to worry, call Scott’s Fort Collins Auto and schedule a quick appointment–it is definitely worth your time and your peace of mind to know the health of your tires.

Time for New Tires? Call Scott’s!

Now that you have learned a little more on what to watch for with your tires, give us a call if it is time to have them replaced (or assessed).  Scott’s Fort Collins Auto offers quality tire replacements from brands like Goodyear, Michelin and Firestone. We offer free tire replacement estimates.

Call us at (970) 682-4202 to set up an appointment.  We also offer free loaner cars for qualifying repairs so you won’t be without wheels while we work on your car. Don’t take a chance when it comes to your tires–they play such a vital role in keeping you, and those you love,  safe on the road.

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