Your tires are one of the most important parts of your car. Not only do they provide the grip and traction your car needs to stay on the road where you direct it, your tires play a pivotal role when you are braking. It's no wonder they take a beating and need replacing often. Below are four signs that you should take your car in to your mechanic and have new tires put on.

1. Sidewall Cracks

When you are inspecting your tires, keep an eye out for sidewall cracks. These indicate that the integrity of your tires is becoming compromised. Sidewall cracks usually look like cuts or tracks on the side of your tires and could mean a leak or blow out is imminent. Contact your tire installation expert for replacement right away.

2. Worn Indicator Bars

Newer tires have a built in feature that makes it easier to tell if you need to replace them just by looking at the tracks they make. Tread wear indicator bars are lines that run perpendicular to the tire treads. While they might be almost invisible when your tires are new, they begin appearing as the tread becomes worn. If you are able to see these bars -- or lines -- in the tire tracks your vehicle leaves or when you look at your tires, a visit to your mechanic is in order.

3. Bulging Spots

A normal tire should have an almost uniform appearance and feel. The treads should be about the same height all the way around and the sidewalls should be smooth and unblemished. If you see one -- or more -- spots where the tires is bulging out, it is a sign of weakness in the material and that your tire might be ready to blow out. Take your car into your mechanic if you find any bulging spots.

4. Not Enough Tread

You might have heard the word tread used when someone was talking about tires. This refers to the amount of rubber or other tire material you have left. As you drive, it wears down which can leave you with less grip and stability while driving. It is best to have a tire depth of at least 1/16th of an inch. An easy way to find out if you have enough is to put a penny with Lincoln's head down in between the tire treads. If you can see all of his head, you need new tires.


Being proactive with your tires helps ensure your safety while driving and makes it more likely that you will get where you need to go without a flat or blow out.