Your tires play a significant role in determining how safely your vehicle can travel down the road each day. Many consumers mistakenly believe that if their vehicle's tires look and feel good, they don't need to be replaced.

Here are three tangible pieces of information you can use when trying to determine if your tires can continue safely supporting your vehicle in the future.

1. Frequency of Use

When determining if a tire is still viable, it's not just the actual age that can affect the safety of a tire. Most of the tires used on passenger vehicles are made from durable rubber materials. If these materials are not used regularly, they can begin to harden or deteriorate.

If you have a vehicle that you don't drive every day, it can be beneficial to check for signs that minimal use has damaged the vehicle's tires. Look for flatspotting (a temporary flat spot in the tire caused by the weight of a vehicle resting on it over a period of time) or cracking, and replace tires that show evidence of these conditions to ensure your continued safety in the future.

2. Tread Depth

The depth of the tread on your vehicle's tires plays a critical role in determining how well your car or truck performs in adverse weather conditions. Deep tread is needed to channel water out from underneath your tires to prevent hydroplaning, and deep tire tread helps to compact snow in order to provide better traction when driving during the winter.

To determine whether or not your tires need to be replaced because the tread depth is too low, you can conduct a simple test using a penny. Stick a penny into the tread on your tires with Lincoln's head upside down. If you are able to see all of Lincoln's head, your tread is less than 2/32 of an inch deep and the tire should be replaced immediately.

3. Inflation Retention

Properly inflated tires can prevent accidents, so ensuring that your vehicle's tires can maintain proper inflation is vital when it comes to determining the viability of your tires. Check the manufacturer's recommended inflation number, and fill your tire with enough air to meet this recommendation.

Monitor the inflation of your tires over time, and if a tire doesn't maintain proper inflation you should plan to replace it immediately. Not only will you avoid a potential accident, but you will be able to improve your gas mileage by up to 3.3% when you have four properly inflated tires at all times.

Knowing when to replace your tires can be beneficial in keeping you and your passengers safe as you travel in the future. Contact a tire shop, like Extreme Wheels, for more help.