Signs of Tire Wear and Identifying the Need for a Tire Replacement
How does a motorist know when to have their tires changed? Any owner or driver of a car or truck should carefully inspect the tires on their vehicle once a month. This should also include a visual inspection of their spare and/or replacement tires. Although few drivers actually do this, it’s easy to spot when tires become worn and need to be replaced.
All new tires sold in Canada come equipped with tread wear bars which are small raised bars that run across the grooves of the tire tread. They resemble small bridges that connect the ridges on the tread. When a tire is new and the grooves are still deep, the bridges are very difficult to see. As the tires wear out, they become more visible and as the tread and the tread wear bars become level, your tires are considered legally bald and need to be replaced.
Ideally, drivers should use a tread depth measuring tool to accurately monitor their tread depth before they are worn to a legally bald level of 2/32nd of an inch. It is good practice to replace your tires when they have worn to 4 or 5/32nd of an inch. For more information on how to use a tread depth measuring tool, click here.
Additionally, the rubber compounds found in tires deteriorate over time and may be a cause for replacement. As your tires age, the rubber may begin to dry out, especially if the tires are exposed to a lot of sun. In some cases, cracking may appear on the sidewalls and in others it may only appear on the tread. Regardless, any evidence of cracking or drying is an indication that the tires need to be replaced.
To determine the age of your tires, refer to the Tire Identification Number beginning with the letters DOT,located on the inner and/or outer tire sidewall. For tires that were manufactured after the year 2000, the last four numbers of the code will identify the week and year in which the tires were manufactured. For example, the following identification number indicates that the tires were manufactured in the 51st week of the year 2008: DOT CX8J 3C2 5108. For tires that were manufactured before the year 2000, the date will be represented in the last three digits of the tire. For example, the following identification number indicates that the tires were manufactured in the 40th week during the 8th year of the decade: DOT U2LL LQLR 408.
Another factor to consider is that any damage to the sidewall of a tire, however small, will require a replacement. For example, if the vehicle shows signs of internal damage in the form of a slight bubble or wave on the sidewall, or there is damage from a protruding object, proper precautions need to be taken to ensure blow-outs are prevented. Have an expert inspect your vehicle if you suspect any faults in your tires.
Maintaining the quality of your tires is essential in the safe operation of your vehicle. Inspect them regularly, and if you are still unsure about their condition, bring your vehicle into any Canadian Tire Service Centre for consultation with our Automotive Specialists.