Checking Your Tires for Long Distance Travel
If you’re planning to ship your car across the country, it’s important to inspect your tires and consider replacement if needed. While your tires may seem fine for everyday local driving, long distance travel puts extra wear and tear that can compromise safety. Here are some guidelines on tire replacement before a cross-country auto transport:
The age of your tires is a major factor. Tires degrade over time due to environmental conditions like heat, ozone levels, and ultraviolet light exposure. The rubber loses elasticity and becomes brittle. Most tire experts recommend replacing tires that are 6 years old or older, regardless of tread depth.
Check the tread using a tread depth gauge. The legal limit in most states is 2/32 of an inch, but for a cross country trip you’ll want at least 4/32 remaining for optimal traction and performance. Signs that it may be time for new tires include uneven wear patterns and bald spots in the tires.
Cracks or Bulges
Inspect the sidewalls and tread areas carefully for any signs of cracking, bulging or abnormal wear that could indicate internal damage. Aging rubber becomes more susceptible to these types of issues. Don’t take chances with compromised tires over thousands of miles of driving.
Other Factors to Consider
Vehicle Load and Mileage
Heavier vehicles and higher mileages put additional stress on tires. For example, a fully loaded moving truck needs stronger tires than a compact commuter car. Account for your vehicle type, average load and estimated mileage of the move.
The quality of highways may vary greatly depending on which areas of the country your route goes through. Rougher back roads or mountain passes can accelerate tire wear. You’ll want tires in top shape to handle different road surfaces safely.
Extreme heat or cold, rain, snow and ice warrant extra attention to your tires. Check the tread wears evenly and isn’t becoming hard or cracked from environmental exposure during the seasons you’ll be traveling through.
Recommendations for Tire Replacement Timing
To summarize the guidelines, aim to replace your tires if:
- They are 6 years old or older
- Tread depth is 4/32 inches or less
- You see any signs of cracking, bulging or abnormal wear
Consider swapping them out even earlier if your vehicle carries heavy loads regularly or the move will cover rough roads or diverse weather conditions across long distances.
Replacing tires proactively gives you piece of mind for the safety and reliability needed to tackle thousands of miles on the open road. Check your tires wisely before shipping to make the most of your cross-country automotive adventure!