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Safety and performance of your car depend on the correct tire pressure

How to recognize worn or damaged tires?

Tires are the only connection between your vehicle and the road. Therefore, they must be first in good condition to ensure safety and performance. 

But how do you know if your tires are worn or damaged and when to replace them? 

In this guide, you will learn how to check the condition of your tires and how to avoid potential problems.


Tread depth is an important indicator of tire wear. The lower the tread depth, the worse the grip on wet or slippery roads. It also increases the risk of aquaplaning, or the tire floating on a surface of water. The legal minimum tread depth for summer and winter tires in Germany is 1.6 mm. However, experts recommend changing tires sooner: at least 3 mm for summer tires and 4 mm for winter tires.

There are several ways to measure tread depth. The simplest is to look at the tread wear indicators in the tread grooves. These are small bumps that are 1.6 mm high. If the tread is flush with the wear indicators, the tire has reached its minimum tread depth and needs to be replaced. Another method is to insert a one-euro coin into the tread groove. If the gold edge of the coin is visible, the tread depth is less than 3 mm and the tire should be replaced soon.

In addition to tread depth, you should also consider the age of your tires. Tire life depends on various factors, including driving style, stress, storage, and maintenance. On average, tires last about six years, after which they can become brittle or porous. Manufacturers recommend replacing tires after ten years, even if they are not worn out.

To determine the age of your tires, you can read the DOT number on the tire sidewall. The DOT number is a four-digit number that indicates the date the tire was manufactured. The first two digits represent the week of manufacture and the last two digits represent the year of manufacture. For example, a DOT number of 2219 means the tire was manufactured in the 22nd week of 2019.


In addition to wear and tear, other factors can cause tire damage. These include:

  • Foreign objects: Nails, screws, glass or other sharp objects can penetrate the tire and cause a loss of pressure or sudden blowout. If you discover a foreign object in your tire, do not attempt to remove it yourself, but take it to a service centre.
  • Mounting errors: Mistakes can be made when mounting tires and rims, which can result in damage to the tire sidewall or carcass. This can affect the stability of the tire and result in a blowout. Always have a professional install the tire.
  • Obstacles: Driving over curbs, potholes or other obstacles can cause abrasions, cracks, or bulges in your tires. These can weaken the structure of your tire and lead to a blowout. Avoid such obstacles as much as possible, or ride slowly over them.
  • Inflation pressure: Incorrect inflation can cause premature wear or overheating of your tires. Underinflation can cause cracks in the sidewalls or damage to the casing. Too much pressure can cause uneven wear or a blowout. Therefore, you should check your air pressure regularly and adjust it to the manufacturer’s specifications.

You should check your tires regularly for signs of damage, such as cracks, bulges, cuts, or blisters. If you notice any of these signs, you should have the affected tire replaced immediately.


The life of your tires depends on many factors, including driving style, load, storage, and care. On average, tires last about six years, after which they may become brittle or porous. Manufacturers recommend replacing your tires after ten years at the latest, even if they are not worn out.

In addition to age and wear, there are other reasons why tires may need to be replaced. These include:

  • The season: Unless you have all-season tires, you should switch between summer and winter tires depending on weather conditions. Summer tires provide better grip and lower rolling resistance in warm temperatures. Winter tires provide better grip and shorter braking distance in cold temperatures and snow or ice. The rule of thumb is: Winter tires should be used from October to Easter.
  • The type of vehicle: If you are buying a new vehicle or selling an old one, make sure your tires match your vehicle type. The tire size, speed index and load index must match the information on your vehicle registration. Otherwise, there may be problems with registration or insurance.
  • Driving safety: If you notice that your tyres are damaged or your driving performance has deteriorated, you should have your tires changed. This may be the case if you slip more often, experience aquaplaning or have a longer stopping distance. This could be an indication of reduced grip or loss of tire pressure.


Tires are an important part of your vehicle and should be checked and maintained regularly. You should pay attention to wear indicators and inspect the tires for visible damage to detect worn or damaged tires.

Maintain the correct inflation pressure, remove foreign objects, avoid obstacles, and have your tyres properly fitted and stored to avoid tire damage. To ensure safe driving, you should change your tyres according to the season, vehicle type and condition.