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Chicago Personal Injury Blog

Replacing Your Tires

by Jared Staver in Auto Accidents, Personal Injury

When you’re on a budget like most of us, replacing your tires can be a painful expense to swallow, especially if you replace all four tires at once, like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) suggests. Despite the sometimes-difficult expense, it is worth it to replace your tires as needed for the overall performance of your car and, more importantly, your family’s safety.

Your car’s tires undergo incredibly high amounts of stress even during the most average drive. While tire technology has advanced to the point that we rarely see this stress, it does build up over time. That means that after years on the road, tires start to lose their ability to handle difficult conditions on the road. In some cases, the treads wear down and lose their traction, especially on slick roads and snow. In other cases, tires simply experience “dry rot,” where the tire’s rubber loses its flexibility and begins to crack, eventually leading to a blowout. Both of these situations can lead to terrible car accidents that damage your car and horribly injure yourself or others.

In fact, tire blowout accidents are some of the most common types of motor vehicle crashes. If this happens to you, you can even be held totally responsible if you did not check your tires for wear regularly, and the tire was worn to the point it should have been changed. If you are involved in this type of accident, you should consult a lawyer right away to see what type of liability is involved and who may be liable. You can call us at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. at (312) 236-2900 for a free consultation at any time with one of our lawyers.

When to Replace Your Tires

Because safe and well-functioning tires are a must, you need to know when to replace your tires. Every month, you should inspect your tires for signs of wear. The following are signs that it’s time to replace your tires.

  • You see cracks, bubbles, or bulges in the sidewall of the tire. This could be sign of dry rot. No matter what condition your treads are in, you will need to get these tires replaced regardless, once they start the dry rot process.
  • The tread is down to 1/16th of an inch or less around the tire or the tread wear bars are showing. In the United States, the legal limit for a safe tire is 1/16th of an inch or 1.6mm. Any wear past that is considered legally negligent and is prohibited. To make this easier to see, tires have small “bridges” called tread wear bars. When you can start to see them in multiple places, that is an indication that your tire is too worn out.
  • Your tires fail the penny test. An easy way to check for tire wear is to use the penny test. That is, stick a penny (with Lincoln’s head towards the tire) between the treads of your tire and see how much of Lincoln is visible. If none of the head of the penny is blocked, your tire has failed the penny test and should be changed.
  • Six years have passed since you last got your tires changed. According to the NHTSA, this is the limit for how long you can safely have tires before you are advised to change them. The absolute maximum legally permitted is 10 years. Even if you see no obvious wear, you should still change your tires at this time.

Once you start seeing these signs (or even just one), replacing your tires should be a priority. It’s better safe than sorry. Don’t risk a dangerous accident just to save a little cash. Replace your tires regularly. If you happen to be injured in an accident due to someone else’s tire blowout, call the lawyers at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. for a free case evaluation.