Every driver knows that their car tires do not last forever. Sooner or later, it needs to be replaced. But how do you know when that time has come? The answer to that is a little more complicated than you might realize.

Different drivers have different driving habits, not to mention drive in varying conditions. These other factors can affect the wheel’s lifespan, meaning that a set of wheels used by a certain driver may be replaced more often or less so compared to other drivers. Fortunately, there are signs that you can look at from your tires to know that tire replacement is in the near future. Here are four you should watch out for:

1. The Tread Is Worn Done

Generally, a tread’s depth is measured as 32nds of an inch. It is the depth between the treads of the tire down to the base of the treads.

 New tires will start at 9/32″ up to 11/32″. From there, it slowly goes down to 8/32″, 7/32″, and so on. Once it reaches 2/32″, it is considered to be no longer safe. A quick and straightforward way to test tread depth is something known as the penny test. If you insert a penny into the gaps between the treads and see ½ or ⅔ of the penny, you’re safe. If your penny barely fits into the treads, that’s a clear sign the tire needs to be replaced—and fast!

2. There Are Bubbles and Bulges

Bubbles and bulges on the wheel are never a good sign. It happens when the internal frame of the tire has been compromised, allowing the pressure from the tire tube to push against the tire.

If you notice bulges and bubbles on your car’s wheels, you must replace the wheels immediately. The bulges can occur anywhere, and even if the tread is still in good condition, a wheel with such issues should not be used.

3. The Sidewalls Are Cracked or Cut Up

A great sign that the tires are nearing the end of the age is checking for cracks on the side of the wheels. This is because rubber naturally degrades over time, and the older the material gets, the more brittle it is. Cuts, on the other hand, are generally caused by impacts with sharp objects like rocks.

If you do notice any cracks or cuts on the side of your wheels, it is telling you that the rubber is old and can fail at any moment. Replace the tires immediately if this is the case.

4. There Are Vibrations in the Steering Wheel

When driving, the treads on the wheels slowly disintegrate as it comes into contact with various roads and surfaces. In a perfect world, the tires should all wear down simultaneously, ensuring a balanced driving experience. However, poorly installed wheels can be off-balance, meaning that the tires won’t all experience the same wear and tear.

This type of issue can lead to unwanted vibrations in the steering wheel. Even if you were to drive on a smooth, flat highway, vibrations could still occur as a result. If you notice such vibrations when you drive, replace the tires. 


There are many other signs that indicate the end of your tires’ lifespan. Things from embedded nails to damaged valve caps are all signs telling you that your wheels have been compromised and need replacing. If you do notice any of the signs, do not delay replacement. If you wait, you put yourself at higher risk of a tire failure when you drive on the road, increasing the chances of an accident. 

If you see any damage or worrying signs on your wheel, send the car to the repair shop immediately. Technicians will come and inspect the wheel, letting you know of any replacements that may be necessary to ensure a safe driving experience.

Hoover Automotive offers car repairs and services, including brake service oil changes, engine repairs, and more to fix up vehicles as good as new. If you are looking for tire replacements in Hoover, AL, work with us today!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *