Your tires are looking a little worn but is it time to replace them?
The best way to know when to replace your tires is to have a professional do an inspection. You can also watch for these warning signs as an indicator that your tires need to be replaced.
Look for “tread wear” bars
If you look closely, you will see small horizontal bridges between the grooves of your tires. When your tread wears down, the horizontal bars get closer to being flush with the tire treads. Tires should be replaced before they reach this point. If the treads on your tires reach 2/32 inch of depth, the tire is considered legally bald (don’t worry, no jail time necessary). Consumer Reports recommends you shop for tires when the tread starts to approach 4/32 inch in depth.
Check for uneven wear in the tread
Uneven tread wear could indicate improper wheel alignment or that your tires need to be rotated. Again, if you notice this, get it checked out.
Use the penny test
There is 1/16 inch (2/32 inch) between the edge of a penny and the top of Lincoln’s head. Stick an upside-down penny into your tire groove. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, your tires need to be replaced. However, you should replace your tires well before the tread gets this worn. There are also special tread depth gauges you can purchase and use to measure your treads. Alternatively, visit any auto shop and they can check them for you.
Don’t forget about the spare
Spare tires are often forgotten about until they are needed. It’s a good idea to visually check the tread on your spare tire as well as make sure that it’s properly inflated.