Are your tires dangerous?

July 13, 2009 3:39:43 PM PDT
If you have a long commute or are about to take a trip, you may want to give your tires a good once over. Summer time can be rough on the rubber and could cause a blow out. A couple of factors are at work here, the age of your tire and the hot weather. Combined they can spell trouble for your commute.

All over Houston roadways the rubber is meeting the road and the road is winning. Tire repairmen tell us blow outs happen more during the summer months and they have the business to prove it.

The reason is in partly due to the heat, but that's just part of the problem. Owen Martin knows the other issue at play.

"I have some tires that are five years old and they should have been replaced. At five years old, you start to see cracking on the sidewalls, those type of things," said Martin, who is getting new tires.

The cracks are a sign that your tire is past its prime, and the hot weather turns those cracks into tire failure.

"The heat alone is making them expand more and they just fall apart. More and more as you drive down the freeway, you see more and more cars broken down," said mechanic Chris Sanchez.

A tire that has been on the road for five years is considered at the end of its lifespan.

"Comes with age wear and tear, whenever you get a tire that's four plus years old you definitely need to take a look at it, make sure everything is OK with it and they are holding up all right," said mechanic Steven Kochran.

You can see trouble coming yourself. Just take a look at this tire that was made in 2002, the cracks are a clear signal it needs to be replaced.

"This tire is done. This tire was done a long time ago, they waited a little too long to get it taken care of," Kochran said.

Beyond looking for cracks, drivers can see effects of the road by checking out the wear bar, every tire has them. The wear bar on this tire is a quarter inch from the tread. On an older tire, the tread is at the same level as the wear bar.

"As soon as the tread gets near there, you need to replace it. This is a sign that they have got too low, it's all over the tire," said Kochran.

Tire experts say check those tires before you go on long trips this summer or even if you have a commute.

If you're trying to figure out when you bought your tires, each tire has a date on it that tells you when the tire was made. It's a four digit code and we can help you figure out the code here so you know how old your tires are.

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