Tire Tread Depth

For this week’s service tip, we’re talking all things tread depth. How to know if your treads are good, when to replace your tires and much more!

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What Is the Penny Test?

The penny tire test is a helpful test in determining whether or not your tires need to be replaced by measuring tire tread depth. While you can generally gauge the need to replace your tires based on your personal driving habits and the level of care you’re employing to extend the life of your tires, the tire penny test is a foolproof way to make sure that you’re staying safe on the road. 

Why Is It Important to Test Your Tires? 

New drivers may wonder, what exactly does the penny test achieve? When it comes to your tires, regularly checking the tire tread depth is essential for numerous reasons. The most important reason for conducting a tire tread depth penny test is to see whether or not your tires are worn out. If they are, this means that your tires may not be gripping the road as they should, which can lead to accidents and other issues when you’re driving your vehicle. 

Another great reason for checking your tires regularly is the fact that insufficient tire tread is illegal in some places, which can result in a far more costly ticket that would make you wish you had performed maintenance in the first place. If you’re fond of your vehicle, you should also know that insufficient tire tread doesn’t just impact your tires. When your tires are bald, this can cause unnecessary stress and strain on other parts of your vehicle. 

Simply put, the tire tread penny test can save you and other drivers from incidents on the road, save you money by avoiding tickets, and preserve the life of your vehicle by keeping everything in excellent condition. Even better, checking your tire tread using the penny tire test is simple, making it easy for anyone to do whenever it’s convenient for you. 

How Do You Conduct a Penny Test? 

All you need to conduct a tire penny test is to have a relatively clean penny and your tires. Once you have these, insert the top of your penny into the tread groove and look at the penny from eye level. 

If the top of Abraham Lincoln’s head is visible and barely the tip of the penny disappears into the tread groove, this is an indication that your tire tread is worn down and that you should replace your tires immediately. Insufficient tread may also be an indication of other issues with your car, such as poor wheel alignment, incorrect camber angle, and toe-in value. In some cases, certain patterns of tread wear like the majority of wear in the center or in the shoulders can be indicative of overinflation or underinflation, respectively. 

So, what does it mean if you find that Abraham Lincoln is buried in the tread grooves up to his forehead? If this is the result of your tire tread penny test, this means that your tires are currently fine. At this point, you should set a reminder to check it at a later date when the tread has worn down further. 

How You Can Improve the Life of Your Tires 

The penny test is a great way to check the health of your tires, but you’ll find that prevention is far more effective in ensuring that you don’t have to stick a penny in your tread groove for a while. Some tips that you should leverage to extend the life span of your tires and avoid rapid tread loss include: 

  • Rotating Your Tires Regularly: It’s important that you rotate your tires on a regular schedule to prevent one set from wearing down faster than the others. If you don’t, you can find yourself having to waste money on tires more frequently than you want to. When you’re rotating your tires, you should also get them balanced as unbalanced tires can cause unnecessary stress that wears down your tires slowly over time.  
  • Avoiding Rough Terrain and Street Conditions: Your tires will only last long if you’re taking proper care of them. Part of taking good care of your tires involves keeping your car in conditions it’s designed to handle. For most cars and tires, this means avoiding any off-road terrain that puts you in direct contact with rough, uneven surfaces where you may even come into contact with foreign objects that can pop your tires. If you only drive on streets, it’s still best to avoid poorly paved portions of road and potholes. 
  • Regularly Inspecting and Maintaining Your Vehicle: Your vehicle, like any piece of technology in your life, requires you to conduct regular inspections and maintenance in order to identify and address any issues before they turn into larger problems. In regards to your tires, checking up on tire alignment, tire inflation, alignment, and the quality of all your wheel and suspension components will give you the peace of mind you need to know your tires and your safety are taken care of. 

Tire tread wear is something that occurs over time. However, few drivers may know how much control they have over the life span of their tires. While the penny tire test is a simple way to check tire tread wear, using the tips above will help you maintain the quality of your tires so that you don’t find yourself taking out your penny and replacing your tires more often than you need to. 

Let Sweeney Help You With Your Tire Maintenance

Did your tire penny test reveal that you’re driving around with insufficient tread? If so, bring your vehicle over to #1 Cochran to let us take care of your tire needs! Our dedicated Tire Center is here to help you with everything from tire rotation to flat tire repair, giving you the high-quality service you need to drive around safely. If you’re ready for tire replacements or you simply need some help extending the life span of your tires, contact us using the form below or schedule an appointment with the Tire Center today!

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