Because your tires are the only grip your vehicle has on the road, tread depth is crucial to giving your car the proper traction and performance. Although tires are not considered bald until the tread reaches 2/32 of an inch deep, tests show that tires with tread less than 4/32 of an inch provide less traction when driving in rain or snow. According to a recent survey by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 11% of vehicles in the United States have one or more bald tire. These vehicles are at higher risk for hydroplaning and loss of vehicle control in bad weather, which can lead to accidents, injuries, and even fatalities.
Learning how to check tire tread depth is very important, yet a recent survey shows that 65% of drivers do not know how to check the tread depth on their tires. Here are 3 simple methods of checking your tire tread.
New tires have between 8-12/32” tread depth. As you drive your car, rubber wears off and the depth gets shallower on the tire. Most tires have tread-wear bars built into them. These bars are found on the bottom of the tread grooves that will be even with the face of the tire when the tread reaches 2/32”. Unfortunately, once the tire tread depth reaches this level, the tire is already dangerous and should be replaced immediately. This is not the best method to use to check tire tread, as it does not give you a true indication of the tread depth of your tire.
Another way to check tire tread depth is the penny test. Place a penny with Lincoln’s head down between the tire grooves. If tread covers any portion of Lincoln’s head, your tire has more than 2/32” of tread remaining. Be sure to do this test on several locations on the tire, as tires do not always wear evenly. In addition, the penny test is much like the tread-wear bar test as most manufacturers recommend replacing your tires when they reach 4/32” and the penny test does not give an accurate measurement for the depth.
AutoSquad Tread Gauge
A more accurate and dependable way to check tire tread depth is to use the AutoSquad tread gauge. With markings similar to a ruler, the tread gauge allows you to accurately measure the tread on your tire at any given time. Simply insert the gauge into the tread and read the depth. Be sure to check the tread level on several areas of the tire to confirm that your tire is wearing evenly. You can download your very own AutoSquad tread gauge for free by visiting http://www.AutoSquad.com/tiretreadgauge.aspx.
Knowing how to check tire tread is crucial to being sure the tires on your car are safe and will be able to handle any type of road conditions. Any of these methods can let you know if your tires need to be replaced, and if you find your tread is less than 4/32” in depth, it is important that you consider replacing them as soon as possible for the safety of you and your passengers.
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