Worn tires with thin tread can lead to big headaches on the road. You’re more likely to get a flat tire, lose traction with the road, or hydroplane. Thankfully, knowing when to replace tires is easy to determine with the tire penny test or by reading your tread wear bar. Follow along and we’ll show you two simple methods for how to check tire tread depth. Both take less than a minute to do!
Method 1: Use the Tire Penny Test
The easiest method of checking tire tread depth will only cost you a cent!
- Grab a penny. Turn the side with Lincoln’s silhouette toward you, so that you can see his head.
- Insert the penny upside down (with Lincoln’s head pointing into the tire) in between the tire tread.
- How’s Lincoln’s hair? Can you see the top of Lincoln’s head? This means your tire tread has worn down to an unsafe level and it’s likely time to buy new tires.
Instead of a penny, you can also use a quarter. The same concept applies: if you can see the top of Washington’s head, your tire tread has worn past the point of safety.
Regardless of which method you use to check your tire tread depth, be sure to measure all of your tires, not just one! Some tires may have more wear than others.
Method 2: Check the Tread Wear Bar
Some tires have a built-in tread wear indicator. This feature can make it easier to know when your tires need to be replaced. Indicator bars are found in between your tire treads, and when the tread depth is even with the bar, it’s time to replace your tires. Not all tires have these bars, but light truck, medium commercial, and performance tires are often equipped with them.
Turn to the Tire Professionals
Still not sure when to replace tires on your vehicle? Let the knowledgeable technicians at Tires Plus help. From checking your tire tread depth and pressure to helping you choose the right new tires, we can offer expert advice to keep your vehicle riding smoothly—and safely—on the road. It may take longer than a minute to head to your nearest Tires Plus, but your safety is worth it!