how to check tires

Do I Really Need New Tires? Three Things to Know Before You Buy

Tires-Easy Tire Safety, Tire Technology, Winter Tires

There is no avoiding the fact that winter n the Northern U.S. and in Canada means rain, snow, ice and cold temperatures. Each of these weather conditions demand a lot of your tires to keep you safe on the road. You may be wondering about the condition of your tires, or what you need to know to ensure you have the right tires on your vehicle.  Here are three things to check to know for sure if you need new tires this season.

#1. Damage to the Sidewall

Check both sides of the tire for damage. This could be in the form of chunks of missing rubber, deep abrasions from hitting curbs, or a bulge in the sidewall. A bulge in the sidewall is likely related to a broken cord inside the tire. This is a serious condition that will almost certainly lead to tire failure eventually. Any chunking larger than a dime, or abrasion that has exposed the textile cords warrants further inspection. Larger cracks may be an indication of hitting a curb or an impact with a road hazard. All these conditions can be assessed at a tire dealership or auto service center to find out the severity of the damage.

how to check tires

Examples of tire sidewall damage that would require immediate attention

how to check tires

#2. Worn-out Tread

No tire safety check is complete without measuring the tread. All tires have a bar in the grooves that is moulded to a height of 2/32nds of an inch. If this bridge in the groove is level with the top of the tread, then you know it is time to change your tires.  You can also measure the depth of the tread using a penny.  If you can see all of Lincoln’s head, then the tire is due to be replaced.
how to check tiresAlso check the tread for areas that are worn unevenly. This could be a sign of mechanical issues such as worn suspension parts or a wheel misalignment. Irregular wear is more common on the front tires. To inspect the tread, turn the steering wheel all the way to one side so you can see the entire surface of the tread. If there is a wear pattern like the one on the left. you should have your tires rotated and the vehicle inspected for mechanical issues. If any part of the tread is worn completely smooth or if tread cords are showing through the rubber, your tires are due to be replaced.

3) Tire Type Appropriate for Your Vehicle and Climate

This may seem like the most obvious thing to check, but many people fail to recognize the difference between summer, all-season and winter tires. If the tire type is not obvious from the name, or markings on the sidewall of the tire, the tread pattern itself will give you a clue as to the climate and conditions your tire is designed for.

Some tire treads are optimized for wet and dry roads only (summmer tires). The treads on these tires are characterized by circumferential grooves across the face of the tread. All-season tires are made to provide adequate traction in wet, dry, colder weather and light snow. These tires look similar to summer tires except they have many more cuts in the tread features. Narrow cuts in a tread are called sipes. If some of the cuts in the tread are wide enough to create a lateral grove, the tire is likely an all-season tire. These types of tires perform adequately, and provide good mileage in any weather or at any temperature.

Winter tires usually have a softer tread rubber and more blocks of tread with very dense siping for extra traction on slush, ice and snow.  Even the highest quality, brand new summer tires are not going to perform well in winter conditions, and winter tires are going to wear out quickly in the heat of spring and summer.  For this reason you need to know what type of tires you have on your vehicle, and decide if they are appropriate for your climate.  This blog about Buying Tires online – What to Know will provide you more information about the different types of tire styles.

At Tires-Easy, we want you to be armed with all the information to decide if you need new tires this season.  If you would like assistance with your next tire purchase, please visit You can also call us toll free at 1-855-978-6789.  Customer Service is open 5am-5pm PST, Monday to Friday. Our Customer Service agents would be happy to assist you with any of your tire needs.

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