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Taking Care of Your Tires - 26 Cents & 2 Minutes

Tires are one of the most critical safety items on a car. At the same time they're often ignored and neglected until too late resulting in costly repair or replacement. However, a little knowledge, time and pocket change can provide a driver with a good of idea of where their tire condition is and when they may need changing.

 

A simple quarter and penny can be substituted for a tire tread depth gauge.

 

Place a penny, face towards you and Lincoln's head down, into several tread grooves across the tire. If part of Abe's head is always covered by the tread, you have more than 2/32" of tread depth remaining.

 

Place a quarter, face towards you and Washington's head down, into several tread grooves across the tire. If part of George's head is always covered by the tread, you have more than 4/32" of tread depth remaining.

 

Place a penny, tails towards you, into several tread grooves across the tire. If the top of the Lincoln Memorial is always covered by the tread, you have more than 6/32" of tread depth remaining.

 

Once you have determined the approximate remaining tread depth in the first location, you can complete your measurement of each tire by placing the coin into additional locations at least 15 inches apart around the tire's central circumferential groove, as well as in its inner and outer grooves. This will help detect uneven wear.

 

As a tire wears it's important to realize that the tire's ability to perform in rain and snow will be reduced.

 

With 2/32" of remaining tread depth, resistance to hydroplaning in the rain at highway speeds is significantly reduced, and traction in snow is virtually eliminated. This depth is also indicated by the tire's wear bars, or small rubber strips between the treads that are 2/32" high. If the tread is even with those wear bars that area is only 2/32" deep.

 

If rain and wet roads are a concern, you should consider replacing your tires when they reach approximately 4/32" of remaining tread depth. Since water can't be compressed, you need enough tread depth to allow rain to escape through the tire's grooves. If the water can't escape fast enough, your vehicle's tires will be forced to hydroplane (float) on top of the water, losing traction.

 

If snow-covered roads are a concern, you should consider replacing your tires when they reach approximately 6/32" of remaining tread depth to maintain good mobility. You need more tread depth in snow because your tires need to compress the snow in their grooves and release it as they roll. If there isn't sufficient tread depth, the "bites" of snow your tires can take on each revolution will be reduced to "nibbles," and your vehicle's traction and mobility will be sacrificed. Because tread depth is such an important element for snow traction, winter tires usually start with noticeably deeper tread depths than typical all-season or summer tires.

Massachusetts' state law says tires must have at least 2/32" of tread depth in the proper grooves and no fabric breaks or exposed cords. Most other states agree tires are legally worn out when they have worn down to 2/32" of remaining tread depth.

If you have any concerns about your tires, or would like to have them checked by a professional, schedule an appointment with the service department, or just stop by. We'd be glad to help.