Am I Bald?

Part II of the Auto Savings Series: Click here if you missed the beginning.

Don’t you dare wait for a blow out to change your tires. They are your first line of defense against the road. Blowouts are expensive and dangerous.

Would you rather buy new tires or replace a rolled car after a blowout? How about a dozen ways for you to know when to replace those tires?


Euro-tread worn out. Image via Wikipedia

1. Measure the tread.

Is there less than 7/32 of an inch of tread on any part the tire? When you place a penny in the tread, it should should reach past Lincoln’s eyebrow. Test both inside and outside the tread.

2. Drove too far?

Have you exceeded the mileage on the tire rating? Tires are rated for a maximum number of miles. Replace tires 1,000 miles of the rated mileage.

3. Th-thump

Do you hear a rhythmic thump while driving? This thump is a tire out of round. Simply put: It has a hernia. When steel belting is severed inside the tire, the inner rubber layer puts pressure on the tread from inside.

4. Psssssssssss

Do you have a leak? If your tire pressure is low within a week, have the tire checked. Punctures within 1 inch (25 mm) of the edge should never be repaired, since they can cause tire exposion during a blowout. Side wall punctures cannot be repaired.

5. Not so fixed?

After the fixative tire inflater, is your tire low (or flat) again in a week? If you used an inflating product, such as Fix-a-Flat or Re-Air, and it is low again, replace the tire. It must not be patched. The fixative chemicals keep the patch from bonding properly.

Note: Americans, you will pay a fine for this tire. After the fixative inflater, a tire cannot be recycled by traditional methods.

6. Wobbly?

Have you notices a wobbling in the steering? This is another red flag you might have a tire out of round.

The result of improper tire maintenance. This ...

7. Musical Interlude?

Do you hear a whining, almost whistling, sound? Tires whistle when too much tire surface is touching the pavement. The side wall whining because it is rubbing the pavement. Unusually worn side walls (like the whistler) can blow out at high speeds (over 40 mph).

8. When did that happen?

Did you drive more than half a mile on a flat? The inside tire wall is damaged, as well as the exterior of the side wall. It is unsafe to operate the vehicle.

9. It’s only a flesh wound!

Are there nicks, cuts or wear on the side wall? If the side wall is damaged in any way, replace the tire. Its reinforcement is compromised.

10. Little here, little there…

Do you have uneven tread wear? If the inside or outside of your tire tread is worn more than the rest, the safest bet is to replace it. If the worn tread is already less than 7/32 of an inch deep, replace it today.


11. I’m cracked.

Is there a web of cracks in your tread or side wall? You have dry rot. Do not drive on or attempt to fill this tire with air. The rotten rubber will explode into pieces under pressure.

12. Round and round and round and round…Dizzy.

Have you rotated your tires 4 times? No more miles, replace immediately. After the fourth rotation, the tires have reached the end of their life cycle, even if the rating says they have more miles.

13. Baker’s Dozen

Do you see cracks around the tire stem? Even if you can find someone to replace the stem, you are going to have the flat back in no time. Replace the tire.

Bottom Line

Tires are the only things keeping you on the road. Save money by keeping them at the right pressure and replacing them when they need it.


NEXT: Break me in gently

What was your last tire emergency?


(c) Ann Marie Dwyer 2011
Reblogging of this or any other post on Momma’s Money Matters is expressly forbidden.
Copyright and Privacy Policy available in The Office. 
Next Post
Leave a comment


  1. How do you explain to those that don’t know any better that you aren’t supposed to speed up when you feel the tire jumping and front end pulling all over the road? I had a bad tire, since everyone told me it was my imagination it didn’t get fixed until the wires started showing. Bad and dangerous I know. But I really want to know how people have the nerve to tell you to speed up when they can feel the sway and hear the thump? I’d love to know how to get people that don’t know any better to check the air pressure in the tire instead of doing the look and guess.

    • You should check tire pressure while gas pumps. It only take one minute to check all the tires. Then, you know for sure.

    • Unfortunately, those people are the ones who eventually flip over (three or four times) and live to tell about how the tire mysteriously blew for absolutely no reason. Makes you wish “natural” selection made better choices, eh?

  2. James Parsons

     /  November 22, 2011

    Most people don’t bother to check anything on their vehicles, they just jump in and drive. Then when something does happen, ( I didn’t know) is all they can say. Great information Red.

  3. Good info for the everyday consumer Red. I think the last tire emergency that I had was a flat on double-axle trailer. No jack, no spare, loaded with a 3500 Massey Ferguson tractor and bush hog. Used chain and binder to hold axle up til I could get to tire store. Glad you were discussing this subject. For a minute, I thought you were poking fun at me for being “hair challenged”. Is that politically correct? LOL.

    • Politically correct: Yes. Irascibly irritating: Absolutely. Aimed at you: No chance.

      Your tire changing set up makes my hair stand on end. (Foresees post about the correct way to change a tire.) Trailers are so bad for tire changing…especially when loaded. Yuck. Better you than me! Red.

  4. Hello! I have tagged you to receive this award! If you already have received it, no big deal. Have a great day!

  5. bear

     /  November 22, 2011

    Ok heres more stuff always set tire pressures cold (if you have driven the car to a gas station or MORE than 5 miles its considered a hot tire the heat build up will give you a wrong reading) still put air in it but always check cold. if you have to use a can of flat repair tell your tire repairman some of this stuff is flamable and remember if the puncture is any closer than an 1/4 of an inch from the sidewall replace the tire.if you dont you run the risk of a sudden flat. good writting red

  6. Karl

     /  December 16, 2014

    @grantahelms follically challenged or follicularly challenged. of course there are other variants.

  1. Cut the Gasoline Budget | Momma's Money Matters
  2. Winterize | Momma's Money Matters
  3. Maintaining Your Emergency Funds: Are You Done? | Momma's Money Matters

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.