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5 signs your tire is kaput

Don't let these warnings catch you flat

Published: September 27, 2014 09:00 AM
Illustration: Brown Bird Design

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Tires usually give signs of trouble well before a blowout or flat. Here’s what to look for.

1. Low pressure

Underinflation creates stress that leads to failure. Check pressure monthly.

2. Sidewall bulges or cuts

This type of damage cannot be repaired. Replace the tire at once.

3. Uneven wear

Watch for tread that’s worn more on one side than the other.

4. Excessive vibration

This can be a sign of suspension, wheel, or tire damage. Have the vehicle serviced at once.

5. Worn tread

Tires are reaching retirement when the tread reaches one-eighth of an inch. Measure using a quarter, with Washington’s head down in the tread. If you can see George’s hairline, it’s time to start shopping.

—Jim Travers

Check out our buying guide to learn about the top-rated tires. And learn how to make your car last 200,000 miles and beyond.

Editor's Note:

This article also appeared in the November 2014 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.

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