How to Check Tire Tread Depth

How to Check Tire Tread Depth

What if we told you Abraham Lincoln could help you determine whether it’s time for new tires? This cool life hack from your friends at Nissan of Mobile uses Lincoln’s image on a penny to check tire tread depth. Try it for yourself, then share this trick with all your friends around Mobile, Prichard, and Saraland!

When Do I Need New Tires?

Penny Tire Tread Check

Most tires start with a tread depth of 10/32 inch or 11/32 inch. This tread helps you come to a stop without sliding and is essential to prevent hydroplaning on wet roads. Over time, the tread wears down, and your tires become bald. You should replace your tires when the tread depth is between 2/32 to 4/32 inch to make sure your car maintains a safe amount of traction on the road.

These measurements sound precise, and they are. Luckily, there are a few easy ways to check the tire tread depth on your car using the loose change in your pocket.

How to Check Tire Tread Depth: The Penny Test

To check tire tread depth with a penny, place the coin into a groove between your tire’s tread marks. Make sure Lincoln’s head is against the tire. Then, take note of how much of his head you can see. Repeat this step on different areas of your tire, making sure to check grooves both on the inside and outside and paying close attention to any spot that looks particularly worn.

If you can see Lincoln’s entire head peeking out from any one of the grooves, your tread depth is less than 2/32 of an inch, and it’s time for new tires. If the top of his head disappears between every groove you check, then your tire tread should be fine for the time being.

You can also repeat this test with a quarter, this time placing George Washington’s head between the grooves of your tire. If the grooves cover up part of Washington’s head, then your tires should have at least 4/32 inch of tread left. If they covered part of Lincoln’s head but not Washington’s, then you should start thinking about getting new tires soon.

Checking Tire Tread Depth Without Loose Change

Worn Tire Tread

Don’t have loose change laying around? Many tires have tire tread wear bars between the ridges to help you determine whether it’s time for new tires. If the ridges are higher than the wear bars, you’re fine to keep driving—but if the wear bars are the same height as the ridges, your tires have reached their minimum safe tread and should be replaced.

For more accurate measurements when checking your tire tread depth, you can also buy a tire tread gauge at most auto parts stores. You can also head into your local automotive service center and ask a technician to check your tires for you.

Need New Tires? Call Us Today!

If you find yourself needing new tires near Mobile, Prichard, or Saraland, or simply want a professional second opinion on how much life is left in your tread, our technicians at Nissan of Mobile are happy to help. Give us a call today or schedule an appointment online to get your tires checked out!

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