This is a question many car owners have. Finding one good answer isn’t easy. That’s because the right time to change tires depends on several factors. Here are some ways you can figure out when your tires need to be changed.


Some say that tires should be changed every five to ten years. Between that time, you should get a qualified professional to assess them one every year. This applies to your spare tire as well. Check the owner’s manual for mileage information as well.

Tread Depth

Tread wear tends to be measured in 1/32th of an inch. New tires will have anything between 9/32 to 11/32 of original tread material. What you need to remember is that tires are considered unsafe once the tread depth reaches 2/32. Remember to perform regular measurements and checkups to ensure that you’re aware of the tread depth of each tire. Use a tire gauge to measure them. To be safe, don’t continue using them after the depth reaches 4/32.


If you feel your steering wheel vibrate when you drive, it may be because your tires have worn out unevenly. It may also be caused by tires that are not balanced because they weren’t rotated regularly. If they have been rotated and balanced, and the vibration persists, it may be because the tires are damaged and need to be replaced.

Tread Patterns

Once tires start wearing out, you’ll be able to see tread wear bars. These are easy to detect because they are on an even level with the tire tread. They often run across the tire or form between the treads.


There are easy ways to test the tread depth too. A very popular test is the quarter test. Plan a quarter in the center of the tread with the head facing you but pointed towards the tire. In a new tire, the coin fits between the treads easily. In case you’re able to see the hair on the head, you should consider changing the tires soon. In case you can see the top of the head, then you need to replace the tires immediately.