Properly maintained tires will help give your car or truck a more comfortable ride and longer tread life. Remember to do the following for your tires:
- Check your tire pressure monthly
- Check your tires for any cuts, snags, punctures, any other injury, or irregular tire wear
- Have your alignment checked at the first sign of irregular treadwear
- Make sure the tires are balanced when they are mounted on the wheels
- Rotate your tires following the schedule in your vehicle owner’s manual or as required by the tire manufacturer’s warranty
- Increase the life of your tires by taking special care when accelerating, braking, cornering, etc. Any City Garage can give you a consoltation on the rate of the wear on your tires.
Measuring Tire Tread Depth with a Coin
U.S. coins can be substituted for a tire tread depth gauge as tires wear to the critical final few 32nds of an inch of their remaining tread depth.
You can measure your tires’ depth by simply using a penny. Turn Lincoln’s image upside-down and place it inside the tread. If part of the tread is covering Lincoln’s head you have more than 2/32” of tread depth remaining, meaning you are still okay to be driving on your tires. Texas state law requires tires to be replaced when they have been worn down to 2/32” of remaining tread depth.
You can repeat this test about 15 inches apart on your tire to determine whether you have uneven wear that might be caused by mechanical or service conditions. Be sure to place the penny around the tire’s central groove as well as its inner and outer grooves.
Legally tires are worn out when they have worn down to 2/32″ of remaining tread depth, according to most states’ laws. Tires sold throughout North America have indicators in their tread design called “wear bars” that help warn drivers their tires have reached this point. Wear bars are designed to visually connect the elements of the tire’s tread pattern and warn drivers when their tires no longer meet minimum tread depth requirements.
As a tire wears it is important to realize that performance in rain and snow is reduced. With 2/32″ of remaining tread depth, resistance to hydroplaning at highway speeds is significantly reduced, and traction in snow is virtually eliminated. If rain and wet roads are a concern, you should consider replacing your tires when they reach approximately 4/32″ of remaining tread depth. Your vehicle’s tires will be forced to hydroplane (float) on top of the water if there’s not enough tread depth to allow the water to escape through the tire’s grooves.