When Do You Replace Your Tires?

brorjacebrorjace Member Posts: 588
edited March 2014 in Acura
When they are practically bald.

I'll do many other parts and fluid replacements earlier than recommended but I like to get the most out of my tires and when they are nearing the end of their lives, they give you better traction and turn-in feel in dry weather.

It's when it's raining that you have to watch out. >;^)

The factory tires on my '90 Integra were as smooth as a baby's bottom before I got rid of them. They looked like a racing slick ... not even a hint of tread on most of the tire. >8^O

You should have seen the look on the dealership service tech's face when I told him that I liked them that way and didn't want to buy new tires. I think I was in for an alignment and valve adjustment at the time.

--- Bror Jace


  • rmyers76rmyers76 Member Posts: 34
    I will replace my tires when they get down to the low point on the wear indicator. I think that is about 4mm of tread left if I remember right. A cop can give you a ticket if you let your tires wear below that point.

    I used to run the tires down to racing slicks when I was younger. I remember lighting up the tires on my old Trans Am and seeing sparks at night from the steel belts. After a blowout at 80mph, I came to my senses.
  • mrdetailermrdetailer Member Posts: 1,118
    If I understand the statistic correctly 90% of the tire failures occur on the last 10% of tread.

    If you fail to align regularly one side will wear out quicker than the other necessitating replacement.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    I think if you wait for the wear bar you are already on thin ice. I'd say a few thousand miles before the wear bar, especially if you are in wet weather. The prospect of hydroplaning on worn tires is pretty frightening, and once that happens there is nothing you can do to control the car.

    The only reason your car stays on the road is those four little patches of rubber.
  • sgrd0qsgrd0q Member Posts: 398
    Actually, in my experience tires deteriorate with age. So even if they look like slicks they are almost certainly worse than the same tires in new condition. That is in dry conditions - in the wet - forget about it!
  • bretfrazbretfraz Member Posts: 2,021
    Driving on bald tires is begging for trouble, and worse. I have no problem with people risking their lives in foolish activities; thins out the gene pool. But don't do it when I or someone I know and love is on the road. Each and every one of us has a responsibility to all others on the road to avoid needless risks. We don't live and drive in a vacuum.

    Tires are mostly wasted after 50% of the tread is gone. Traction v. Treadlife ratio is not linear. And cheap tires suffer greatly with frequent heat-cycling. That's one reason why some tires are so expensive - they can withstand the "heat up and cool off" cycles while maintaining their structure and capabilities. Cheapy no-name tires can't do this and become ineffective after so many cycles. The amount of tread means nothing; the tire is junk.
  • dhughes3dhughes3 Member Posts: 56
    New tires are quieter, ride better, and obviously offer better traction. The only advantage I see to driving on badly worn tires is that they may handle a little sharper due to reduced tread flex.
    I got rid of my first pair of tires on my Intrepid at 70K, even though they weren't down to the wear bars, after sliding halfway through an intersection on wet pavement (no ABS). I've also experienced hydroplaning on worn tires, and trust me, it ain't fun at 65 mph.
  • vidtechvidtech Member Posts: 212
    I agree with bretfraz.Wet traction gets pretty unpredictable when a tire is 50% worn.If you live in a dry climate,no problem.With today's drivers who follow too close,use no turn signals or talk on the phone they need all the help they can get.
  • cyberfire12cyberfire12 Member Posts: 18
    I replace mine when they are 50% worn.

    tires are the ONLY thing between you and the road, it makes no sense to skimp on that!

    you can get some good tires for a reasonable price if you shop a little.
  • jmsintxjmsintx Member Posts: 41
    when would you replace the tires of the vehicle your children ride in ? I replace mine when the sipes are gone, usually about 25% of new tread depth left.
  • brorjacebrorjace Member Posts: 588
    Wow, I expected to get a reaction ... but not that much of a reaction.

    I let my tires get completely bald only once ... in 1993 when I had a mile and a half commute to work ... and during the winter I was using good, dedicated snow tires so the bald summer tires didn't matter and I replaced them in the spring.

    Actually, even in the wet, the two bald front tires (factory Yokohamas) had more traction than the snow tires, I remember going along on a wet road at 60mph after having switched from the baldies to a snow tire (BF Goodrich). I hit the brakes hard & late and I could feel that the car had about half as much braking power. I had intended to make a sharp right hand corner just then but because of my speed and poorer braking, I knew I wouldn't be able to make the corner so I just kept going straight.

    The last tires I had were Dunlop D60s and I thought they had great performance, even in the rain, especially after they had lost a great deal of their tread. I let them get down to the wear bars before replacing them.

    I understand what everyone is saying about safety and tires being vital but except for the occasional early snow, I have no problems riding on tires towards the end of their lives. Using a tire only until its tread is 50% gone seems wasteful to me and tires are an international disposal problem. I can't see making that 100% worse by using only half the tire before replacing it

    The only tires I've ever had a problem with were cheapies I had on an old 2WD truck. I broke a belt in one and I hit a large piece of metal with the other. The only times I've picked up nails or screws in tires was when the tires had a fair to substantial amount of tread on them. I think the tread blocks helps anchor the penetrator in place while you roll over it.

    --- Bror Jace
  • hengheng Member Posts: 411
    My Pontiac Grand Prix had the GY Eagle LS's replaced at 23,000 miles because my wife said they were slippery in the wet. I looked at them and they still had about twice the thickness of the wear bars. But they were history the next day.
  • q45manq45man Member Posts: 416
    Depending on what treadwear index you buy and the formulation, Tire [tread] starts out with a durometer hardness of 65,66,67,68,69,70,71,72...75 [Shore A units].
    Every few thousand miles [depending on highway temperature and speed] this increases by 1-2 points. The rubber continues the [heat based]Vulcanization Process.
    Somewhere around 20,000 miles [less with soft performance tires 10-15k ] the hardness gets excessive -- over 80 Shore units. This is when the tires lose wet grip.
    Since all tire are only tested to an extrapolated 8,000 miles [in Lab and on test track] it is difficult to gauge what they will be like after this mileage.
    Soft tires harden faster [relatively]; initial hard [high mileage highway tires] harden more slowly.
    Generally OEM tires [on new cars] are soft to minimize braking distance and increase handling to score well in magazine tests [which sells cars]. By 8,000-10,000 miles the performance has radically deminished in wet as the tread depth has worn and harder rubber has become exposed.

    Somewhat foolish to buy ULTRA long lasting tires if you care about short wet stopping distance.
  • vwracervwracer Member Posts: 90
    When to replace your tires depends on how much you value your own life. Why do people spend tons of money on life insurance, but are too cheap to spend a couple hundred bucks every 5-6 years for a new set of tires. Just like the Michelin tire TV commercials with the baby in them ....SO MUCH IS RIDING ON YOUR TIRES. So think about how much your life is worth, and how much your family's life is worth, and go buy new tires before your old ones are worn out.

    just my thoughts
  • sgrd0qsgrd0q Member Posts: 398
    Exactly. When they change tires during a race (often multiple times during the same race as in Formula 1) they change them because the rubber is degraded due to the heat. Note that they start with slicks (when dry) and change with slicks.

    If you wear a regular tire to bold you normally end up having very poor tires even on dry surfaces. Your "bold" tires will probably be comparable to worn out slicks.
  • q45manq45man Member Posts: 416
    Obviously as the tread wears the dry handling increases [due to less block squirm] but the hardness goes in the other direction as does the wet handling [grooves] braking [hardness]
    For most tires when they are half worn [10/32 going to 5/32"] is the optimum replacement point but LEGALLY you can keep them to 2/32".
    Personally I give my Michelin [235/60/15][late fall through Spring] tires to poor relatives every 20,000 miles or 2 years. They end up on old pickups for years.
    For summer use I try to find the flavor of the month [Premium but discounted close out V or Z rated with very low treadwear] and am happy to get 4-5-6 months out of them.
    I have never kept a tire in service more than 24 months just too much internal damage in warm South.
    But my case is somewhat special: Q45 [weighs 4300 pounds with just me and gasoline] and I drive alot.
    Most high performance DIRECTIONAL tires feather and heel toe wear significantly on a heavy performance car....this assymetrical wear causes vibrations which cannot easily be resolved even by rotation and monthly balancing [after 5-6k miles] you put up with it and are looking forward to nice round smooth winter tires {Michelin] by November.
  • bburton1bburton1 Member Posts: 395
    Cops around my neck of the woods check tires at traffic stops and if they are down to the wear indicators and particularly if the driver has an attitude-a tow truck gets called. A JD with an attitude backed into me and the cop just grinned when he looked at his slick back tires-"this vehicle is not in a safe operating condition and will be towed".

    IMO if someone causes a wreck due to bald tires-they are guilty of reckless endangerment. I replace tires before the tread gets to the wear indicators, particularly in the winter.
  • oldharryoldharry Member Posts: 413
    somewhat with q45man, if a tire is at or below 5/32, I'll replace them. Incidentally, a tire that starts at 10/32 is considered worn out at 2/32, so 5/32 is 5/8 worn, not 1/2. If it's November, I'll replace them at 6/32. I have oppotunities, to sell my used tires, so it doesn't cost me as much as most.

    My wife's car gets a new set this coming fall, even though she will have more than 6/32 tread because the tires will be five years old. Less tire slipping when starting and stopping, means I hear less unpleasant words. A happy wife means I am happier.:<)

  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 24,785
    ...how'd you get 70K miles out of your Intrepid's tires? I wore through my first set at 30K, and that was pushing it. They were the stock Eagle GA 225/60/R-16 with a 300 treadwear rating. Did you have a better tire? I replaced them with a set of Generals with a 560 treadwear. Got 57K on it, and they still look almost new. They're not quite as smooth or quiet as the originals, though!
  • 8u6hfd8u6hfd Member Posts: 1,391
    When I see Lincoln's head
  • q45manq45man Member Posts: 416
    that cars had to display the accumulated tire mileage [plus how much they paid] that way I would know who to give a wide berth to in traffic.
    You [general population] scares me in showing pride at how long their tires last.
    Strange brain washing when marketing attempts to correlate long life with safety. But the law has equalized everything when you rear end someone your're almost always at fault....following to close for conditions [yes the condition of your car not usually the condition of the road].
  • scottc8scottc8 Member Posts: 617
    Recently changed the OEM Firestone Firehawks on my Lincoln LS at 35k miles. They were not down to the wear bars, but their traction in snow had deteriorated severely. Based on the difference in the ride and performance of the car with a new set of identical tires, I should have changed them at least 5k sooner.

    Next time, I will.
  • leadfoot4leadfoot4 Member Posts: 593
    Hear, Hear!!!
  • vwracervwracer Member Posts: 90
    I think tires should come with a manufactors experation date(just like a pack of hot dogs). Tires deteriorate and dry rot just sitting still in your driveway. That classic car you drive 300 miles a year, may have bad tires after ten years with only 4500 miles on them. When you see tiny cracks on the sidewalls, it's time to get new tires. Those tires sitting in the shed for the last 6 years should not be used either.
  • bretfrazbretfraz Member Posts: 2,021
    Was at a brand new Sam's Club and saw they had a great deal on some General LT tires. The Grabber AP in 235/75-15 under $50 each. Not the worlds greatest LT tire but a very good price.

    I looked at the tires closely and noticed the date code - 410. IIRC, 410 translates to the 41st week in 2000, or the tires were made the week of October 15, 2000.

    Only been sitting around 15 months. I'll pass, thank you.
  • beginnerbeginner Member Posts: 1
    I just have four new tires installed on 98 camry v6. After driving for a while, I noticed a strange sound like "pu..Shi...." coming out occasionally. Does anyone knows what this means? Is it a problem caused by tire change? Do I need go back to have them checked?

    Thanks a lot,
  • brorjacebrorjace Member Posts: 588
    First off, since I'm the one who admitted to occasionally running on bald or more recently, almost-bald tires, I figure I'll provide a little more detail as to me circumstances and justification.

    First of all, I never buy cheap tires. All the tires I've purchased in the last 15 years have been name brand tires with an HR speed rating. These are all over-engineered for everyday driving and I'm guessing this is the reason why I've never had a problem with belts breaking, sidewalls failing, etc ...

    Long before the Ford Bronco controversy, I was someone who would not even consider buying Firestone tires.

    Second, I'm a very good driver. I'm into car control and when cornering aggressively, I set the car to push through the turn and this gives me constant feedback about how much grip my tires have. In the rain I slow down considerably at least until I can test the tires in safe spots to verify my amount of traction.

    Third, the worn tires are only used through the summer months and I switch to dedicated snow tires (Nokian Hakkapelitas ... the best!) from December through March. Once these have only 25% of their tread left, they are going into the dumper. Snow tires need a deep tread to be effective.

    Lastly, I do not recommend to others that they run their tires right down to the last of the tread. There are too many drivers out there who are only barely paying attention while they are behind the wheel and for these folks, driving with questionable tires is a recipe for disaster.

    vwracer: "Why do people spend tons of money on life insurance, but are too cheap to spend a couple hundred bucks every 5-6 years for a new set of tires."

    I am single and don't bother with life insurance. Surprised? >;^D Oh, and I buy tires every 5-6 years. But, I also drive 15-17,500 miles per year on the two sets combined.

    sgrd0q, I don't think your Formula 1 analogy holds up. The side forces those cars exert are astronomical and when the tire heats up, they blister and the blistered rubber is what fails to perform at the extreme limits, not merely warm rubber. When watching the cars on TV, the blistered tires look like they have stripes on the tread face. Bald performance street tires are a totally different matter unless you are parking lot racing. Speaking of racing, the first thing SCCA racers do with their tires when they race them is shave most of the tread off of them. >;^)

    q45man, you only get months out of a set of VR or ZR tires? Yikes! Where do you live, Death Valley? You are right about unidirectional tires and uneven wear. I have a set of Nokian NRH2s and although I like them, they cupped after a long, high-speed trip to the Thousand Islands and I swapped them left-to-right (yes, they are now on the wrong way) to try and 'correct' them. Truth be told, I prefer my omni-directional Dunlop D60A2s which I purchased in 1996 and the last two are about down to their wear bars with 63,000 miles on them. A friend of mine kept a set of Bridgestone Potenzas until they had approximately 75,000 miles on them. Both of us are excellent drivers with perfect records.

    Of course, when setting up cars for women who are not enthusiasts like us, we'd not allow the tread to get nearly that worn. See the difference?

    Bburton1, luckily for me, I'm not a jerk when I get pulled over. I have stickers on my car that law-enforcement-types generally like to see and I haven't been ticketed in over a decade. I have never been asked about my questionable tires nor my louder-than-stock exhaust.

    --- Bror Jace
  • sgrd0qsgrd0q Member Posts: 398
    Sure the tires blister. But most importantly the rubber deteriorates.

    Traction is reduced not because there are a few blisters in the tires. It goes as follows - the tires heat up, then as they are exposed to constant stress and heat they begin to deteriorate - the consistency of the tires change. Then, as a result the tires are more prone to blistering, they don't hold the road as well, etc. All because the molecular structure of the tires has changed.

    The blistering is a side effect of deteriorated tires.

    So when you see a tire blister in F1 you know it is badly worn out - it's consistency is not the same as new, it will not have good traction, etc.

    A few blisters or holes alone make very little difference in traction.

    And, yes, by all means shave off the tread, but do not wear the tires out hoping to achieve the same effect.

    Oh, and by the way your tires will also age by the time you wear them out (unless you race) so you will be indeed even worse off.
  • sgrd0qsgrd0q Member Posts: 398
    brorjace: Long before the Ford Bronco controversy, I was someone who would not even consider buying Firestone tires.

    What was the Ford Bronco controversy?
  • brorjacebrorjace Member Posts: 588
    I guess we're going to have to agree to disagree on how F1 tires wear out ... and probably other tire issues as well.

    As for Fords, obviously I meant to say Ford Explorer.

    --- Bror Jace
  • sgrd0qsgrd0q Member Posts: 398
    Ok, I agree to disagree!

    By the way I used to race single seaters at Silverton about ten years ago. I am not a pro driver at all - you can just pay and do this kind of thing for fun there.

    Next to our tiny track was the main track where you could see F1 cars screaming past during practice. Anyway, I've seen tires that were disposed of after use. Hence my opinion.

    You are entitled to yours, of course.
  • sgrd0qsgrd0q Member Posts: 398
    Oh, and by the way I knew you meant Ford Explorer. I was just giving you a hard time! Sorry :)
  • dhughes3dhughes3 Member Posts: 56
    Andre 1969--I don't know that I did anything magic to get 70K from my original Goodyear GA's. Maybe because I drive fairly gently and do a lot of freeway driving. My replacement Goodrich Advantage Plus now have 35K, and look like they'll go as long as the Goodyears, although I probably won't let them. As I said, the tread wasn't gone on the Goodyears at 70K, but the traction was.
    Q45man, I have always suspected what you confirmed. My current Goodrich tires seem to have lost a lot of wet traction at 35K.
  • q45manq45man Member Posts: 416
    Heavy powerful RWD cars are hell on tires, the better the car handles [more aggressive camber curves] the more stress the tires see. You tend to drive a little faster in curves because these cars handle so well. Stopping a 1,000 pound heavier car is a lot more than 25% more stressful.
    Normal tire wear on these cars is 16,000 to 25,000 miles even with a Premium tire [assuming you maintain the required soft treadwear index] otherwise they won't stop.
    Traction control aggrevates the problem since it works primarily by applying the rear brakes to stop the slip.
    Many of my comments apply to heavy powerful cars...ask BIG SUV owners.
  • mralanmralan Member Posts: 174
    Are Douglas tires any good? I've seen them advertised a WalMart with 80k treadlife expectancy for a very resonable price. I live in the deep south, so snow is not an issue.
  • mullins87mullins87 Member Posts: 959
    What are you going to put them on? If you have a large heavy vehicle that you drive all the time, go with a premium tire. On the other hand, if these will go on a smaller vehicle that you drive only occasionally, go for it. You get what you pay for.
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