How do I know when to replace tires?

When your tires’ tread depth approaches its minimum safe driving level, it’s important to buy a new set of tires. But how do you know when that moment has arrived? While it’s important to err on the side of safety, you also don’t want to leave a year of tread on the tires and waste your money. 

If after reading this article you still have any questions about tire replacement, you can contact your local Nokian Tyres dealer for a consultation.

Tire replacement based on tire tread depth

As a general rule, it’s important to replace your tires when they reach a tread depth of 4/32 of an inch. Tires with tread wear below that mark have deteriorating wet grip and are more prone to hydroplaning, as the tread groves are vital to helping cars stay stable in slippery conditions. Once your tires reach 2/32 of an inch, their contact area with the road is only 6 percent of what they were when you bought them.

How do you know your tread depth? You should regularly visit a tire shop to get your tires inspected. But Nokian Tyres makes it easy to check yourself – our Driving Safety Indicator on each tire’s tread tells you approximately how much depth you have left.


Nokian Tyres' patented Driving Safety Indicator.

Proper tire type depends on weather conditions

It’s also time for new tires if you aren’t driving the right set for your climate. Nothing is safer on snow and ice than a set of dedicated winter tires, and all season tires that thrive in spring and summer aren’t actually designed for temperatures below 45 degrees Fahrenheit (7 degrees Celsius).

All weather tires offer a useful year round driving solution for drivers who experience unpredictable winter weather that isn’t consistently severe enough to justify dedicated winter tires.

Replacing unevenly worn tires

If you notice uneven tire wear patterns, it might be a sign that you should consider replacing your tires. Having different tires on the front axle and the rear axle of your vehicle can pose road hazards, compromising your vehicle’s stability and handling. 

Uneven wear can be caused by various factors, including incorrect tire pressure, issues with alignments or suspensions, and driving habits. You can make your tires last longer by monitoring the tire wear regularly, maintaining tire pressure recommended by the vehicle’s manufacturer, and driving smoothly. 

In addition to inspecting irregular wear, it’s essential to keep an eye on the overall condition of your tires. If you spot any visible damage on your tires, it is time to replace them. Remember to check the condition of your spare tire as well. Should you have questions about tire wear and its impact on your driving performance, consult your local Nokian Tyres dealer.

Tire life is usually between 6-10 years

Tire lifespan can be 6 years in service or 10 years from date of manufacture, whichever comes firstWith time, the tire rubber compound can change due to natural degradation. Causes for that can be, for example, rubbers’ reaction with oxygen and exposure to strong UV radiation. By storing your tires correctly, you can significantly extend the tire lifespan.

How to choose new tires?

When it is time to replace your tires, there are various factors to consider: 

  • Vehicle type and tire size. It is important to choose tires that match your vehicle’s specifications. Consult your vehicle’s owner’s manual for tire type and size recommendations. 
  • Driving habits. Consider what are your primary driving conditions and needs. Urban environments and off-road terrain require different tire types.
  • Seasonal considerations. Determine whether you need all-season tires, winter tires, or all-weather tires, as they are designed to excel in specific weather conditions. Note that there might be some laws and regulations regarding the use of seasonal tires. Check out our Tire Buying Guide for help determining which tire type is right for the weather conditions you drive in.
  • Fuel efficiency. The lower the rolling resistance is, the less is fuel consumption. The majority of Nokian Tyres’ products are in the best rolling resistance categories: A, B, or C.

If it’s time for you to get a new set of tires, check out Nokian Tyres’ Dealer Locator and speak with your local Nokian Tyres dealer to find the right tires for you.

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