Extend the Life of Your Tires

Posted July 1, 2022

Tires looking worn? Pick up a penny!

How can you tell if your tires are worn-in or on-borrowed-time? The official recommendation is to replace a tire when its tread is worn to a level of 2/32 of an inch. Okay, great. Now – how best to get a measuring tape between your tread?

No need for that. Just grab a penny. A penny is exactly 2/32 of an inch thick, and is much easier to maneuver than a measuring tape. With the head facing down and toward you, place it between the tread of your tire. If you can see all of President Lincoln’s head, it’s time to look into tire replacement.

It is important to conduct the penny test on several different spots on each tire. If the alignment is off in any way, or your tires have not been rotated as often as they should be, they will show uneven wear. One or two, or maybe all four, of your tires may have bald spots if your alignment is off.

It is wise to plan on replacing a tire when its tread is at between 4/32 and 2/32 of an inch to avoid driving on tires that are unsafely worn. A tire within this threshold is likely to perform poorly during wet conditions.

To test for areas on your tires that are between 4/32 and 2/32, you can use a quarter. The distance between George Washington’s head and the edge of a quarter is exactly 4/32 of an inch (the minimum thickness recommended for diving through snow, ice or rain).

Repeat the same steps as with the penny test, with the quarter facing down and toward you. If George Washington’s head is completely visible, plan to replace your tires before driving your car in any amount of precipitation to ensure your car is at an acceptable level of drivability.

When it comes to maintaining and extending the life of your tires, we recommend a few simple steps: (A) Make sure your tires are inflated to the range specified in your car manual. (B) Rotate them frequently so they’re worn down uniformly – this is especially important if you drive on poorly-maintained roads with lots of cracks and potholes. (C) Align your tires regularly as this is crucial to extending their lifespan.

Check your tire pressure, rotate and align. Remember these tips and you will get the maximum lifespan out of your tires. Be sure to stop by or call us to schedule a quick tire rotation, alignment, or a general inspection to stay safely on the roads here in El Paso County!

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