How Do I Know If I Need A Tire Replaced?

Many drivers do not grasp a basic understanding of why it is imperative to keep their tires in excellent condition until it is too late and a tire explodes on the highway — leaving them in the dust! Accidents like these can cause serious injury and in some cases, death. Even in the best case scenario, the loud explosion and the extreme and sudden change in driving conditions will result in a panic attack and adrenaline rush; plus, your car will be filled with the hideous odor of a burning/exploded tire (quite possibly the most putrid smell known to man). Clearly, keeping on top of your tires’ condition and tread and wear wear will benefit you tremendously — simultaneously keeping you safe on the road while saving you the headache of breaking down (leaving you with no choice but to call one of those pesky tow truck drivers).

tire-tread-penny-testRegularly checking your tire’s tread depth to gauge how heavily it has been worn and checking the sides of your tires for potentially dangerous scuffs, cuts, and other damage will help you determine whether or not your tire needs to be replaced. The law requires that tire tread depth must be over 2/32” deep. There is an easy way to determine if you meet this requirement and all you need is a penny. Position the coin so that Lincoln’s head is upside-down and place it at the lowest point in between your tire treads. If part of Lincoln’s head is covered up, you have at least 2/32” of tread left. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, you will need to have your tire replaced. Run this test along the circumferential perimeter of your tire about 15” apart to check for even wear. Another way to check your tread is to look at the tire wear bars. These are small bridges in between tire treads that all new tires are manufactured with. The wear bars should be set deep inside the treads. If the wear bars are flush or level with the tire treads, it is time to replace your tires. The minimum tread requirement is 2/32”, but if you drive in a lot of rain or other hazardous driving conditions you may want to have a tread that is at least 4/32” deep. You can use a quarter for this test. Position the quarter so that Washington’s head is upside-down and place the quarter in between the tire treads at the deepest point. If you can see the top of Washington’s head, you have less than 4/42” of tread left and it is time to consider buying new tires.

While you are running penny and quarter tests, you should also check the side walls of your tires for any damage. Side wall damage occurs from driving improperly against a sidewalk, pothole, barrier, or any other structure and it is not uncommon. Problems arise if the damage is too deep. Check for cuts and gashes. If the damage is severe, it is more than cosmetic — it is problematic. Deep cuts can also lead to surprise tire bursts. Take your car to the mechanic and he or she will be able to tell you whether or not your tire needs to be replaced. You will also want to keep your eyes peeled for abnormal bubbles or bulges in the sidewall. The presence of bubbles or bulges means that the internal rim/wheel structure has been damaged (most likely from a collision with potholes or structures as exemplified above). Bubbles and bulges can be extremely dangerous because their presence means that the damaged wheel rim has allowed air to travel inside the tire into the tire’s thin and flexible outer layers. Not only will you definitely need a new tire in this scenario, you will unfortunately also need a new wheel or rim as well. Lastly, check the sides of your tires for cracking. If you see cracks that are blatantly apparent to the naked eye, this means that the tire is old or has dry rot (which can come from extreme weather conditions or temperatures). The normal life expectancy of a tire is 6 years, and manufacturers recommend replacement after 6-10 years, even if the tread is not great condition. Cracking on the surface of the tire is dangerous, frequently causing blow-outs. You will need to replace these tires before the damage becomes more perilous and more severe.

Big Changes This Week!!


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What’s new at Jack’s this week? We have transferred most of our tires out of our garage and into on-site tire storage to make room for the highly-rated Eagle 6,000 lb. mobile car lift! Better equipment to better serve our customers.

  • Break change
  • Oil tune up
  • Transmission oil change
  • Pre-inspection
  • Install used batteries with a 30 day warranty
  • Window regulator replacement

Much more! Need service? Call us, we’d be glad to help!


Why We Use Synthetic Oil for Oil Changes…

oilchangeHere at Jacks Tire Shop, we only use the best oil for our oil changes: synthetic oil. Many of our customers do not know why synthetic oil is superior to conventional oil (also known as standard oil, non-synthetic oil, or mineral-based oil). Using synthetic oils better protects your engine and will have your car running efficiently for a longer time. Here’s why.

Synthetic oil is distilled as well as refined; then it is purified, so it’s cleaner for your engine. This process removes more impurities from the oil, which translates into less sludge buildup in your engine. Sludge and other oil buildup make for a dirty engine. This stuff will not only lessen the efficiency of your engine, but it can also drastically shorten the life of your engine. Synthetic oil also prolongs engine life by offering greater protection between engine parts, so it wears on your engine drastically less than conventional oil. This extended protection comes from the fact that synthetic oils don’t break down as easily or as quickly as standard oil.

Richmond, Virginia is subject to extremely high temperatures in the summer as well as extreme lows in the winter. These drastic climate changes can cause problems in your engine. In summer, heat precipitates evaporation in conventional oil, and this in turn puts more of a strain on the engine (plus the oil won’t last as long). In low temperatures, it takes longer for your engine to start than moderate temperatures. Once you turn the ignition, regular oil slowly begins trickling through the engine. Synthetic oil will begin flowing as soon as you turn the key.

Finally, if you have a high-performance vehicle with a turbocharged engine or turbocharger parts, you will need synthetic oil to appease the requirements of these parts to start as quickly and run as smoothly as possible.


Why Do I Need to Rotate My Tires?

Have you ever noticed that if you tend to scuff up the side of your wheel, it will likely happen on the same tire? Did you know that your left front tire is disproportionately worn more than any other tire on your car? This is because the front tires are worn more than the back tires (due to the heavy engine typically being found in the front of the vehicle) and because right turns are sharper, the left tires have to travel a longer distance. Mechanical problems can lead to disproportionate — and even premature — tire wear as well; problems with your car’s suspension or a misaligned vehicle can generate excessive wear on one or more of your tires. Essentially, it is because of this uneven wear that auto professionals and manufacturers recommend getting your tires rotated twice a year. A good rule of thumb is to get your tires rotated while you get your oil changed. It is suggested to rotate your tires every 6,000 miles, depending on what kind of car/truck you are driving. Check your automobile’s owner’s manual for a better idea of how frequently they recommend rotating your tires.

Getting your tires rotated will not only extend the life of your tires, it will optimize the performance of your vehicle and increase gas mileage. At Jacks Tire Shop, we would be happy to rotate your tires for you (and if you need, we will change your oil for you as well). Plus, if you buy any set of four new or used tires, we can offer you free tire rotation for a year!