When Should You Replace Your Tires?
Routine maintenance of any kind is important to the upkeep of your vehicles and, more importantly, to your safety. Arguably, one of the most crucial aspects of keeping yourself and your car safe is to keep your tires up to date. Though some say that the same set of tires can be kept on a vehicle for up to ten years without needing replaced, the timing is less important, as it’s more about the wear and tear of the daily grind on your tires. Always keep an eye on the tread depth of your tires.
The primary function of tread on tires is to divert water from underneath the vehicle in order to prevent hydroplaning. Once your tires’ tread depths reach 1/16 of an inch, the tire is no longer capable of performing this function and therefore is not safe. One of the most common ways of measuring tread depth is the penny test; take a penny and place Lincoln headfirst between the treads of your tires. If the treads have worn down to the point where you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, you need to replace your tires.
If you want a more accurate and scientific approach to measuring tires, there are a few more options. Some tires come with tread wear bars, which are embedded between the tire treads and will become more visible over time as the tread wears down. If the tread is even with these bars, then it’s time to replace the tires. You can also purchase a tread depth gauge, which will give you a more precise reading on the depth of your tires’ tread than the penny test.
The NHTSA estimates that over 200 vehicle fatalities occur each year due to worn tires. Keeping on top of the health of your tires and replacing them when need be can minimize this risk and prevent accidents.