Extend the Life of Your Tires

Sometimes it can be difficult to determine just how far along your vehicle’s tires are in their lifespan. How does one decide whether they have “worn-in tires” or “you’re-on-borrowed-time tires?”

The official recommendation is to replace tires when the tread is worn to a level of 2/32 of an inch. Okay, great. Now – how best to get a measuring tape between your tread? No need for that. Just grab a penny.

A penny is exactly 2/32 of an inch, and is much easier to maneuver than a measuring tape. With the head facing down and toward you, place it between the tread of your tire. If you can see all of President Lincoln’s head, it’s time to shop for a new set.

It is important to conduct the penny test on several different spots on each tire. If the alignment is off in any way, or your tires have not been rotated as often as they should be, they will show uneven wear. One or two, or maybe all four, of your tires may have bald spots if your alignment is off.

It is wise to plan on replacing a tire when the tread is between 4/32 and 2/32 to avoid driving on tires that are unsafely worn. A tire within this threshold is likely to perform poorly during wet conditions.

To test for areas on your tires that are between 4/32 and 2/32, you can use a quarter. The distance between George Washington’s head and the edge of a quarter is exactly 4/32 of an inch (the minimum thickness recommended for diving through snow, ice or rain).

Repeat the same steps as with the penny test, with the quarter facing down and toward you. If Washington’s head is completely visible, plan to replace your tires before driving your car in any amount of precipitation to ensure your car is at an acceptable level of drivability.

When it comes to maintaining and extending a tire’s lifespan, we recommend a few simple steps: (A) Make sure your tires are inflated to the range specified in your car manual. (B) Rotate them frequently so they’re worn down uniformly – this is especially important if you drive on poorly-maintained roads with lots of cracks and potholes. (C) Align your tires regularly as this is crucial to extending their lifespan.

Check your tire pressure, rotate and align. Remember these tips and you will get the maximum lifespan from each and every tire you buy. Be sure to stop by or call us to schedule a quick tire rotation, alignment, or a general inspection to stay safe this fall and winter.