Tire Trouble? Don't Get Run Over at the Shop

Posted at 5:30 AM, Mar 31, 2015
and last updated 2016-07-04 12:02:33-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) -- A lot of things can cause a flat tire - but is it okay to repair it or does it need to be replaced? And if it needs to be replaced, should you buy just one tire or do you need two? How about all four? These are just a few of the tire questions that get answered in this week's Angie's List report.

Tire trouble can be scary. One of the best ways you can help prevent it is periodic inspections of your wheels.

"If you see cracks on the sidewalls, it may be time to get them replaced. If you see a bulge in the side of your tire, you definitely want to get it replaced because you're likely going to have a blowout soon," said Angie Hicks, founder of Angie's List.

And there's a simple trick to test your tires.

"Stick a penny upside down in the top of your tire, and if you can see the top of Abe Lincoln's head, then your tire tread is way too low and you need to replace your tires," said Hicks.

If just one or two tires are worn down, you don't need to buy a whole new set, but only if the others are fairly new.

"If you have an all-wheel drive vehicle, if you replace one tire, there can't be more than 5/32 of tread difference between the other three. If so, it can create problems with the differential, the drive-line system," said tire expert Chris Fox.

And when buying new tires, make sure they really are new. Check the DOT number on the sidewall and look at the the last four digits. Those indicate the week and the year that tire was made. It's common to see new tires that are actually six to twelve months old. Don't consider anything beyond that.

It's always best to replace all four tires at the same time if you can afford it, but it's okay to patch a punctured tire - as long as the hole is less than a quarter-inch wide and located on the crown of the tire, not near the edge or sidewall.

Make sure to rotate your tires every 5,000 to 6,000 miles to help them wear evenly and keep the warranties valid.

Remember you can catch the latest Angie's List report every Tuesday morning on WTXL Sunrise.