Once the tires of your car have insufficient tread to grab the road as securely as they should, the reduction in friction can cause driving your car to become unsafe. Thus, it is important to replace your tires when they reach an unacceptable tread depth. Tires that have 2/32 of an inch of tread or less need to be replaced as soon as possible. At this depth, the tire is considered bald.
Here are a few ways to check your tread depth so that you will know when it is time to replace your tires:
Use a penny.
A penny can be used to quickly and easily check tread depth. The penny should be inserted in a groove between the treads to determine the depth remaining.
When inserting the penny, look for the most worn areas of your tire's tread. In addition, be sure to insert the penny with Lincoln's head in a downward position. If you are able to see the top of Lincoln's hair, your tire tread has fallen below the 2/32 inch minimum, and you should immediately purchase a new tire.
Check the indicator.
If you drive a truck or a large commercial vehicle, your tires may be equipped with a tread indicator. This indicator looks like a horizontal bar between treads. Once the tread death becomes equal to the indicator bar, a tire is considered bald, and delaying the replacement could affect your vehicle's safety.
Use a quarter to test.
Another way to test your tread depth is by using a quarter. Like the test that uses the top of Lincoln's head to test the tread with a penny, a quarter test uses George Washington's head. If the tire tread is touching the top of Washington's head when the coin is inserted with his head upside down, the tread depth is down to 4/32 of an inch, which, while worn, is still considered sufficient tread depth. However, if there is noticeable space between the tire tread and Washington's head, it is probably time to replace your tires.
Use a tread gauge.
A tire tread gauge is a small tool that resembles a ballpoint pen. It provides a quick and simple way to test tread depth. Available at most automotive stores, the gauge has a ruler-like measurement system displayed on its side. Once you insert the gauge between the tire tread, you can read the tread depth on the side of the probe. The gauge reading is in 1/32-inch increments.
If you believe that it is time to replace your tires, visit a tire vendor in your area. Visit a site like http://www.eurotire.com to browse various tires.