Walking, running, dancing, you name it! We can add a lot of pressure to our feet. But, here’s the kicker (no pun intended) the same can be said about our tires. Think about it. After every mile or drive to the grocery store, we add more wear and tear. Granted, this isn’t a sign of bad driving – well not always – but our tires too come face to face with what we like to call “tire age.”

There’s no denying that driving with tire failure is simply not ideal. So before you head out on your next road trip, take a look at the following five signs. This will give you a great indication if your tires are in tip-top shape or need a little extra TLC.

Tread Depth

Penny TestWhen it comes to your tires’ tread, safety should always be top of mind. The tread on your tires should never fall below 2/32 of an inch. This can cause your car to respond poorly in adverse weather conditions such as rain or snow. There are two ways to properly measure the tread depth on your tires. First, you can purchase a tire gauge at your local store or simply use a penny. All you have to do is place the penny head first in several of the grooves. If Lincoln’s entire head is visible, your tire doesn’t have enough tread. Make cents?

The Tread Wear Indicator Bar

Indicator bars are a huge convenience and are often found on newer tires. The bars will gradually become more noticeable as the tread wears down. They will show as flat rubber bars running perpendicular to the direction of the tread itself. If more than one or two are visible, this is an indication that the tread is getting low. This can be seen in the wet tracks your tires leave after driving through a puddle.

Cracks in the Sidewall

Not all tire problems are found within the tread. They can also appear in your tire’s sidewall. It’s easy to spot tracks or cuts in the sidewall – grooves that are distinct enough to the naked eye. This can be a sign of a developing leak or potential blow out. If any of the cracks in the sidewall are showing signs of serious damage, take your car to the repair shop sooner than later. It may be time to get them replaced.

Bulges and Blisters on the Tire

tiresKeep your eye out for tire bulges and blisters. Often extending from the rest of the surface, most bulges and blisters are the result of the tire’s outer surface getting weaker. This weak spot can cause a sudden blow out while driving, leading to potential harm to yourself and passengers. It is important to see a mechanic as soon as possible if there is any indication of a tire bulge or blister.

Too Much Vibration

A certain amount of vibration is inevitable while driving. However, if the vibration feels off, there are various reasons for this, including: tires are misaligned or unbalanced, shock absorbers are starting to go, or perhaps there’s an internal problem in the tire itself. Take it to a mechanic right away, as too much vibration in this case is never a good thing.

To prevent further damage, simply follow these five signs and your tires will thank you the next time you’re on the road. Remember, vehicle manufacturers generally recommend you replace your tires after six years, while, most tire manufacturers recommend you replace your tires after 10 years. It never hurts to speak with a mechanic regarding the durability of your tires.