How Often Should You Replace Tires?

Published on

January 31, 2024

mechanic replacing tires on vehicle

It's estimated that up to 78,000 vehicle accidents per year are the result of tire issues. That's why it's so important to ensure your tires are in good condition and properly inflated every time you get behind the wheel. 

In this post, we'll cover how often you should rotate and replace your tires, some common signs that your tires need to be replaced, and the dangers of not replacing your tires. Read on to learn more or contact your neighborhood GreatWater-affiliated service center today and schedule an appointment.

Dangers of Not Having Tires Changed

We all know how important our tires are to keeping us safe on the road. Without proper care or timely replacements, you run the risk of the following tire-related driving hazards:

  • Hydroplaning
  • Poor performance in snow and rain
  • Problems holding air pressure
  • Tire overheating, which can increase the risk of a blowout
  • A greater stopping distance
  • Poor fuel economy
  • Traction control problems

Signs Your Vehicle Needs Tires Replaced

Wondering how often to replace tires? Your tires’ tread, or ‘grooves’, should always be roughly 2/23 of an inch deep. There are multiple ways to check for adequate tread depth. Here's a look at three of them (and don't forget to check the tread depth of your spare tire too!):

Tread Wear Indicators

Tread wear indicators are built right into most tires. They’ll look like raised, evenly spaced sections within the tire tread grooves. If the tread on your tires is reaching the same level or at the same level as the tread wear indicators, it's time to get some new ones.

Tire Tread Gauges

All auto shops have tread gauges that help technicians determine tread wear and remaining tread life on tires. You can also purchase these tools at any hardware store yourself. They're fairly easy to use. Just place the gauge into the groove of your tire and push it down. The measurement stick will pop out and display the tread depth.

The Penny Test

This might be the easiest way to check to see if your tire tread is at an adequate depth, and it doesn't involve any special tools or trying to read wear indicators. Just grab a penny out of your change jar and take it out to the garage. Flip it so that Abraham Lincoln's head is faced down and then place it into the tire tread. If the top of his head disappears or mostly disappears, then you're good to keep driving. But if most of his head or his entire head remains visible, then your tread could be nearing or even at 2/32 of an inch, which means it's time for a replacement.

Tire Age Considerations

Have tires that are more than six years old? Even if the tread is at an adequate depth, you should still think about replacing them. Outside of tread wear, tires also degrade after regular exposure to whatever Mother Nature throws at them - and these weather elements can lead to their decay over time.

How to Find a Tire's Age

Not sure how old your tires are? There's an easy way to check! Head out to your garage and carefully inspect the sidewall of your tire. You should see its DOT Tire Identification Number, or TIN. The last four digits on the TIN identify when the tire was made (week, year). So, for example, if the last four numbers read "0322," the tire was made in the third week of 2022.

Replacement Intervals

As a general rule of thumb, you should have your tires replaced every six years or when the tread depth is at or below 2/32 of an inch - whatever comes first. There's no true mileage associated with tire lifespan, as driving habits, climate, and preventative maintenance all play a factor in longevity.

Should You Replace All Four Tires at Once?

Generally speaking, it is best practice to replace all four tires at once. This is because all four tires rotate independently of one another, so they all tend to wear differently. That's why it's so important to have your tires regularly rotated, so no one tire wears faster than any of the others. Additionally, replacing fewer than all four tires could potentially lead to damage to the drive train and misalignment problems.

There are times when it is possible to replace fewer than all four tires. Make sure to have your vehicle serviced by someone you trust, like a local GreatWater-affiliated technician, to better understand how many tires you should replace and why.

It's also worth noting the best way to avoid premature tire wear - and that's by taking good care of your tires and practicing good driving habits. Tires should be rotated every 5,000 to 7,500 miles to ensure even tread wear. Failure to do so will cause some tires to wear faster than others. Good driving habits include gradual stopping and starting, not overloading your vehicle with excessive weight, avoiding potholes and other road obstructions, and maintaining proper air pressure.

Contact GreatWater Today

For more information on how often to replace your tires and for tips to extend the life of your tires, contact our expert technicians at your local GreatWater-affiliated location today. As a full-service auto center, we'll handle anything and everything related to your vehicle - from routine oil changes to engine repair. And beyond offering high-quality automotive service, we also offer our GreatWater Guarantee, our industry-leading 3 Year/36,000 Mile Nationwide Warranty. 

Locate your nearest GreatWater location today and schedule a free consultation.