How Can You Tell if You Have a Bad Tire?

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To determine if you have a bad tire, you’ll need to carefully inspect your tires, for signs of wear and erosion. A bad tire can be the result of time, the environment, driving habits, and even manufacturer defects. No one wants to experience the repercussions of a worn-out tire. Thankfully, tires usually show their wear, making it easier for drivers to stay safe.

5 Ways to Discover If You Need New Tires

It’s advised motorists check their tires and correct pressure once a month. If you notice these signs of wear during an inspection, it may be time to get new tires.

1. Penny Test

Insert a penny Lincoln-side up into one of your treads. The top of Lincoln’s head should be closest to the rubber. If any part of Lincoln’s head is hidden by the tire tread, the grooves are fine. If all of Lincoln’s head is visible, the treads are too shallow, and you should replace your tires in order to drive safely. Experts suggest that car owners replace their tires whenever the tread dips below three millimeters.

2. Tread Wear Indicator Bars

Newer tires have tread wear indicator bars. When the tread becomes low, and the tire needs replacing, lines running perpendicular to the tread begin to appear. These lines are barely visible when the tire is new, but they become increasingly apparent as the tire ages. When multiple lines appear, it’s time to purchase new tires.

3. Bulges and Cracks

Bulges and cracks are easy to spot, and they should never be ignored. Cracks in the sidewall are of particular concern, as they can indicate leaks and even foreshadow blowouts. These cracks are typically caused by age, excessive loads, or high amounts of force.

Bulges are just as serious. Anytime the tires of a car forcibly collide with something, such as a pothole or tracks, the outer surface wears. Eventually, this may cause a tire bubble, which is an air-filled bulge in the tire. These bulges can also lead to blowouts. Drivers with tire bulges and severe cracks should immediately replace their tires.

4. Odd Handling

In addition to visual checks, the way your vehicle drives can also be an indicator of tire wellness. Cars that have little traction on wet pavement usually have low tread. Worn or bald tires on wet roads can be a particularly dangerous combination as they can cause your vehicle to hydroplane out of control. Similarly, wobbling and vibrating sensations may indicate that the tire is weak.

5. Age

Finally, the age of your tires is also an important factor when determining if it is time for replacements. The type of tire you purchased and environmental factors where you live and drive will impact the rate of tire deterioration. Because of this, there is no fixed lifespan for tires. However, many tires will last between six and 10 years.

Even if you do not drive very often and your treads are still good, that does not necessarily mean that your tires are still in working order. Rubber wears down over time, and old tires need to be replaced.

Potentially Hidden Tire Defects

Sometimes there is no way for a driver to know their tires are dangerous. Usually, these situations are the fault of tire manufacturers or improper repair techniques. Tire tread separation is one such example. It occurs when the tire’s tread separates from the body.

The symptoms of tire tread separation are similar to those displayed through regular wear, except individuals may notice this type of wear occurs faster. Other times, it’s only through studying the remains of tires after an accident that you or the crash investigators can observe that a defect was present.

Dangers of Defective Tires

A defective tire will often lead to an accident on the road, with potentially deadly consequences. The two main risks posed by a tire in poor condition are loss of traction and a blowout.

When your tires are worn down they can have a very difficult time gripping the road in wet conditions. When driving on wet roads, you want the water to flow between the treads so that the tire can make contact with the asphalt below. When tires have low tread or are bald, though, there is nowhere for the water to go, so it stays between your wheels and the road beneath. Because of this, you are unable to get traction and are liable to lose control of your vehicle.

When your tires suffer from some other form of damage, they are likely to explode. This explosion is called a blowout. A blowout is violent and sudden and will rock your car and necessitate a quick adjustment. A blowout will often lead to a temporary loss of control of your vehicle. When you are driving on a busy freeway, traveling at high speeds, this loss of control can be catastrophic.

When a Defective Tire Causes an Accident

The problem with defective tires is insidious, and it’s made worse by our country’s inadequate tire recall system. Many people simply do not know that their tires are defective. This ignorance occurs in large part because vehicle service centers continue to sell and install recalled tires.

If you’ve experienced a crash you believe was due to a tire defect, contact a personal injury attorney. A qualified attorney can help you obtain compensation for damages that were caused by your accident. These may include property damage, your hospital or doctor bills, transportation expenses, lost wages, and even emotional pain and suffering.

When manufacturers fail to take their duty of care seriously, or to adequately test their products, accidents, injuries, and even deaths can be the result. An attorney can negotiate a settlement for you, and in cases where that is not possible, they will act as your advocate in court.

Of course, if an accident occurred as a result of problems with the tires on your vehicle, the manufacturer is not the only one who could be in legal hot water. When the problem with your tires is not determined to be due to a defect but rather due to negligence on your part, you could be the one getting sued.

It is crucial that you replace your tires when they show signs of damage. Doing so will not only protect you and others from bodily harm. It will safeguard you from legal damage as well.

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