Are your tires safe? Are you sure? Many vehicle owners believe they only have to concern themselves with tire pressure or the remaining tread on their tires to consider them road safe, but there’s more to it than that. Tires are made of rubber that degrades over time, so even purchasing a brand new one can have risks depending on how long it’s been since the manufacturing date. Our Panama City car accident lawyers share some things to consider when purchasing, replacing, and checking your vehicle’s tires.
Tires are made from rubber. As rubber is exposed to oxygen over time (known as “oxidation”), the material dries out and becomes stiffer, which can lead to it forming cracks.
In 2007, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) published its Research Report to Congress on Tire Aging, which showcased evidence of tire aging failures. The report concluded that most tires are safe for about four to six years before aging-related failures begin to occur—even on spare tires.
However, many tire manufacturers don’t include expiration dates on their tires, so it can be difficult to determine if they are safe to use. When you go to purchase new or used tires, ask an associate to help you locate the tire’s manufacturing date. Though tires don’t really start to rapidly degrade until they are filled with air and mounted onto vehicles, it is still best to use caution when purchasing a tire that is already over four years old. Head to Tire Buyer for more information on how to determine the age of your tires.
The tread on your vehicle’s tires refers to all those patterns, shapes, and grooves which give tires the ability to grip the road, accelerate, brake, turn, and increase fuel economy. “Tread depth” is the vertical measurement of the top of the tire’s rubber to the bottom of the tire’s deepest grooves.
The tread depth of new tires is usually made to last anywhere from three to five years, although how long your tires actually last depends on how well they are maintained. Merely driving your car wears down the tread depth, so the more you use your vehicle, the faster the tread wears down.
Maintaining a good tire tread depth is important because tires at or above the recommended tread depth provide better traction. Therefore, it is important you measure your tread depth from time to time to ensure your safety. This tire tread depth chart can help.
Despite their poor reputation, retreads (used tires that have received new tread) have been found by the federal government to be no more dangerous than regular tires.
Another major component of tire safety is tire pressure, which refers to the amount of air inflating the tire. Tire pressure affects how well your car maneuvers, the lifespan of your tires, and fuel consumption.
Proper inflation is important. Both under inflation and over inflation can cause tires to burst, leading to blowouts, a very dangerous situation. Weather can affect your tires’ pressure as well, especially if the temperature is extremely hot or cold. Therefore, you should check your tire pressure often. Newer cars have pressure sensors, but if you are driving an older vehicle you may want to purchase a tire gauge or head to a nearby mechanic or dealership for assistance.
The better your tires work the safer your driving will be. For more information on tires and maintenance, head over to the NHTSA’s website.
In the event you or a loved one are injured in a collision caused by faulty tires or other factors, reach out to our Panama City car accident lawyers at (850) 764-0383 or online to book a free case evaluation. We may be able to help you win compensation.