Posted on: Aug. 02, 2017 in Auto Maintenance

Summer is the perfect time for long drives and road trip, cruising around town or shuffling kids to pools and play dates. But nothing will ruin your summer fun faster than a tire blowout. If you haven’t been keeping an eye on your tires though, you can end up on the side of the road with a flat.


It’s estimated that as many as one in ten accidents are partially due to tire problems. Tires that are old are more susceptible to blow outs. What’s worse, tires with worn tread can lead to loss of control, particularly on a rainy day.

To check your tires’ treads for wear, insert a penny into the groove. Check several places around the tire as the wear could be uneven. If Lincoln’s head is covered, you have at least 2/32” of tread. But if you can see all of Lincoln’s head at any point, your tire is significantly worn and needs to be replaced. You can also do the same thing with a quarter, inserting it into the grooves. If the top of Washington’s head is covered, you have more than 4/32” of tread. If his whole head is visible, you are in that gray area where you should be replacing your tires soon.

If your tread is in good shape, give some thought to the age of your tires. Even with adequate tread, your tires should be replaced when they are between six and ten years old. At that point, they are simply too old to be reliable. If you’re not sure how old your tires are, you can check the Tire Identification Number on the wall of the tire. You should find a four-digit number on the tire that will indicate when it was manufactured. The first two numbers will indicate the week and the last two will indicate the year. So, if the tire reads 1813, the tire was made in the 18th week of 2013. Don’t forget that spare tire in your trunk – be sure to check the manufacture date on that tire as well!

In addition to tread and age, always be on the lookout for bulges, bubbles, a slow leak as evidenced by visible low pressure, obvious wears, or anything puncturing the tire at any point. Most cars manufactured after 2007 are equipped with a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) which will illuminate your dashboard in case of a problem, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still take a look around before you get in the car.

Having a tire blowout on the road can be scary and leave you stranded while you wait for assistance. It can also be dangerous if you’re stuck with no safe place to change the tire. Worst of all, you can lose control of the vehicle injuring yourself and others or causing damage to the car. By visually inspecting the car and monitoring the tread, you can may be able to prevent one of these scenarios.

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