Driving your car when your tires are worn out is reckless and dangerous. If your tires are too old or damaged they won’t provide the traction you need, especially when you are driving at high speeds, turning corners, or traveling in inclement weather.  Look for the following signs when you are deciding when to recycle your old tires.


Even if you don’t drive very often, the material your tires are made of degrades over time. Most manufacturers recommend replacing your tires every six to ten years. Since this is a pretty wide window of time, pay attention to the mileage on your car as well. How far have your tires taken you? If you live in a rural area and commute long distances for work, you’ll put a lot of miles on your car. If you live in a large city, you might be able to walk to your grocery store or take the subway to your job, which means your car gets less use.

As a general rule, most tires are built to last about 40,000 miles. Once your current tires have taken you that far, take them in to be inspected. If needed, replace them with new tires and recycle your old ones.


While you can’t learn everything you need to know about your tires’ durability just by looking at them, there are a few obvious signs that you can look for. If you notice bulges or blisters on your tire or cracks in the sidewall, there is a chance your tire will blow out in the middle of your commute or on your next road trip. If you notice one of these problems, get your tires checked as soon as possible.


The tread on your tires provides most of the traction. Make sure your tread depth is at least 1/16th of an inch. If you will be driving in wet or icy conditions, the depth should be twice that.
There are two easy ways to check your tire’s tread.

  • Many tires have built-in bars that are perpendicular to the direction of the tire tread. When the tires are new, theses bars aren’t visible, but as your tire gets worn out they begin to show.
  • Another easy way to check your tread depth is to use a penny. Insert the penny into the tread with Lincoln’s head pointed down. If you can still see the whole head, your tire is worn out and needs to be replaced.

Use these signs to determine when your tires need to be replaced and recycled. Replacing your tires when they are worn out keeps you safe on the road. Just remember to recycle or reuse those tires so that they don’t take up space in a landfill.

Old tires can be turned into playground equipment, tire derived fuel, or asphalt. They can even be recycled and turned into new tires again. Be conscientious of your safety and the environment by replacing your tires when they wear out and recycling the old ones responsibly.