If you hear a regular thumping or vibration that varies with your speed as you’re driving down the road, the tires are usually the culprit. Many times, the tread in the tire is separating internally.
Want a sure-fire way to know if this has occurred? Try this: Drive across a parking lot at 2 to 3 miles per hour, then let go of the steering wheel. If your steering wheel shakes back and forth, slightly left to right, that’s an indication that the tread has moved inside the tire, and you definitely need to replace the tires. Look carefully at the photo above and you can see where the tread has shifted due to tread separation inside the tire. That is a very dangerous situation and you should never travel at highway speeds with such a tire.
The age at which you should replace a tire has become an issue over the years. All tires have a number on them that indicates the age of the tire. The number will start with the letters DOT (an abbreviation for Department of Transportation), followed by a series of letters and numbers. At the end of the series will be four digits. Those digits represent the week and year the tire was made. For instance, if one of your tires has the digits 4512, the tire was made in the 45th week of 2012. The numerical significance comes into play because the recommendation for replacing tires is between five and seven years old.
Check your tires. If they are 10 years old, they definitely need to be replaced. If you don’t replace them, you are at a great risk of a blow out or tire separation.
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