How safe are your tires? - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

How safe are your tires?

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By Karen Cohilas - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –  Tires are something most of us take for granted, until we have a problem, but they are vital to the operation of your car.

And just because your tires look good on the inside, doesn't mean they are safe for the road.

Most drivers know of something called tread depth and tread wear. Take a look at this tire, it's a good example of a tire you don't want to travel on.

But there's another indicator on tires that may reveal if they may be too worn for the road. 

Just days before Christmas, two people were killed in a wreck in metro Atlanta. The cause? A blown tire. While the tread looked normal, the tire was 13 years old, and rotting.

"You really want to pay careful and close attention to the age of your tire," Millie Page, the Owner Albany General Tire Service.

Page says there are some obvious giveaways when it comes to tire wear and tear.

"You need to replace them when they start looking like this, 'cause they're not safe."

But in addition to the tire tread, you need to know when your tire is made. "Every tire made has a DOT stamp."

"A lot of people don't have any idea that every tire is stamped with that serial number on there."

Consider it a born on date for your tire.  "A tire can look great, but if it starts cracking on your sidewall and it's four or five years old, you definitely need to have them replaced. Even if the tread looks good. That is something that fools people a lot because they think they have plenty of tread left."

If you're not sure how to check your tires, the best thing to do, is to have a professional check them out.

"Having the tires checked, preventative maintenance, is the most important thing you can do with your tires."

Keeping you safe while you're rolling down the road. While we already know the tread on this tire looks bad, and we don't want to ride on it, let me show you that DOT stamp.

It says, DOT and is followed by a series of numbers. The last four show when the tire was made.

This one was made in May of 2003, almost seven years ago. And with the combination of lack of tread and age, this is a tire that doesn't need to be back on the road.

You should always check the DOT stamp if you buy used tires so you know for sure how old they are.

Proper tire inflation is the best way to keep your tires in good shape.

  • Click HERE to see a chart to determine WHERE your tires were made.
  • Click HERE for technical information on tires.

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