When’s the Right Time to Buy New Tires?

September 10th, 2021 by

A gloved mechanic adjusts a tire during a Joliet tire service.

Although you should get new tires any time they need to be replaced, in general, the best month to buy tires is either October or April. While some parts of the country might not need to worry about different tires for different seasons, we have plenty of rough weather to deal with here in Illinois. As your full-service dealership in Joliet, tire service is just one of many services we are happy to offer for all of our customers. Your tires are incredibly important, and making sure they are in good condition and replaced as needed can help you avoid serious collisions.

Let’s take a look at some of the basic things you should keep in mind regarding tire service and how often you should replace your tires. Just remember that any guide like this is only going to be able to cover general rules and considerations. If you’re concerned about the quality of your tires, then come visit us at Thomas Nissan, and we can make sure your vehicle is safe on the road. With fall and winter right around the corner, there’s no better time than right now to have your tires checked and consider switching them for the weather ahead.

October for Winter Tires

It might seem a little strange to shop for winter tires in October; after all, we’ve just kicked off the fall, and the weather can still be quite warm and pleasant. When it comes to buying tires, however, it’s really best to get ahead of things, and that’s why October is a perfect time. A lot of people wait until well into November or even December to shop for winter tires, and at that point, you’re going to pay the most for them.

In October, you can often find great deals and savings on winter tires. Despite the fact that most of our roughest weather and heaviest snowfall here in the Joliet area tends to happen in January and February, we can still get a fair amount of snow starting in December and even November. In 2018, we got nearly 4 inches of snow in November, and in 2016 there was more than a foot of snow in December, which really isn’t all that uncommon.

By shopping for winter tires in October, you can save some money. It’s easy to schedule a time for it since other people are putting it off, and you’re getting ahead of the nasty weather. Winter tires are important here in Illinois as they are designed to stay soft and pliable even when the temperature gets really cold, giving you the best traction and control on the road. Good winter tires are also designed with deep treads to help with melted snow, slush, and other weather hazards that you’re going to deal with while driving in the cold months.

A gloved mechanic is rolling a tire at a Joliet tire service.

April for All-Season Tires

On the other end of the calendar, it’s a great idea to switch back to all-season tires in April since you don’t need the added traction in cold weather that winter tires provide. All-season tires are generally good for just what they say: all seasons. In reality, however, they’re not great when you’re dealing with snow, slush, and ice, which is why we strongly suggest everyone switch to winter tires in October.

But as things start to warm up and we leave the winter behind us, April is the perfect time to switch back to all-season tires for the spring and summer. We still tend to get a fair amount of snow in March each year – we got nearly 9 inches of snow back in 2014 – so it’s best to wait until after April to make the switch. We do sometimes get an inch or so of snow in April, so switching tires during the first bit of warm weather isn’t always the best idea.

While you can, technically, use winter tires in the warmer months, there’s really no reason to do so. Winter tires have less grip in warm weather and wear out faster. It’s better to use all-season tires for warm weather since they’re designed for it and switch them out for winter tires when appropriate. This way, you’re also spreading the wear and tear on your tires across two sets so they will each last longer.

When Should I Replace My Tires?

If you’re not sure if you need new tires or not, there are a few ways to check and see if it’s time for a new set. Perhaps the most important test is to check your tires’ tread depth to see how deep the tread and grooves on your tires still are. Deep grooves allow your tires to maintain traction in rough conditions, like rain and snow, so it’s very important that your tread depth is sufficient to handle that kind of weather.

You should insert either a penny or a quarter into a groove on your tires with Lincoln’s head facing downward. If you can’t see the top of the president’s head at all, then the depth is still good, and you can probably keep using your tires safely. On the other hand, if you see the top of Lincoln’s head, then the tread is worn, and it’s time to replace them. Using a penny means you need to replace them right away – but if you use a quarter and you can see his head, then you have a few weeks to get new tires.

Any time there is damage done to your tires, such as from hitting a pothole, driving over a nail, or rubbing against a curb, you should have your tires checked right away. Here at Thomas Nissan, we can make sure all of your tires are still in good shape and safe to drive on. Sometimes, minor damage can be repaired, and you might be able to keep using your tires for a while longer. Serious damage, however, can severely weaken your tires, and it’s vital that you replace them right away to stay safe on the road.

The final thing to consider is that your tires have a lifespan of about six years after they are made before they need to be replaced. Even if you never drive your car, the rubber in the tires will age and decay naturally over time – becoming brittle, weak, and unsafe to drive on. So no matter what kind of condition your tires are in, if they are more than six years old, then it’s time to replace them.

A gloved mechanic is adjusting a tire during a Joliet tire service.

Don’t Wait – Keep Your Tires Fresh

Although you probably don’t need to replace your tires with new ones every year, it’s always a good idea to swap between winter and all-season tires at appropriate times. By visiting a professional tire shop, you can not only get your seasonal tires swapped out, but you can also have them checked for damage and wear, rotated, and rebalanced. This will keep you safe on the road and ensure you will always remain in control of your vehicle.

Here at Thomas Nissan, our service people are ready to help you with everything you need, including swapping out your seasonal tires or helping you find new ones. Since we are a full-service shop, this is a convenient time to have your oil changed and handle other routine maintenance to make sure your vehicle is in the best condition possible. Visit us at Thomas Nissan today, and we’ll keep your car running great.