Tips and tricks from the car experts at Bryant Motors in Sedalia on knowing when it’s time to replace your tires
Tires are your car’s first line of defense against dangerous road conditions. The tread of your tire helps channel water and snow so that you can stop quickly and safely. But as tires begin to wear out, the tread lessens to the point that the tires can no longer properly perform, putting you and your passengers in danger when you need to stop at a moment’s notice.
If you’re unsure how to check a tire’s tread, Sedalia car experts would like to share with you the following tips and tricks for knowing when it’s time to start shopping for new tires:
The Penny Test
Some say that pennies aren’t worth keeping around these days, but when it comes to checking your tires’ tread, that’s not true. A penny is the perfect tool for ensuring that your tire tread is still acceptable. To perform the penny test, place a penny in the channel of your tire’s tread with Lincoln’s head down into the tire. If you’re able to see the top of Lincoln’s head once the coin is settled into the tire, your tires are officially bald.
Being able to see the top of Lincoln’s head means that your tread is 1/16th of an inch or less. Tires with tread less than 1/16th of an inch are no longer legal and would not pass a vehicles safety inspection. More importantly, these tires put you at risk for hydroplaning in wet conditions and not being able to stop quickly even in dry conditions. If your car doesn’t pass the penny test, you should buy new tires immediately.
The Tread Test
Another simple method for testing if your tires are bald is to look for the tread bars. These bars, which are on all new tires, run perpendicular to the channels of a tire. Once the tire is even with these bars, your tire needs to be replaced.
The Quarter Test
A few years ago, Consumer Reports did extensive research on the stopping abilities of cars. The group found that once a tire’s tread reaches below 4/32 of an inch (which is twice the legal limit), its performance begins to drop substantially. To see if your tires are less than 4/32 of an inch, you can use the quarter test.
Like the penny test, place the quarter with Washington’s head down into the tread. If you can see the top of Washington’s head, it’s time to start looking around for new tires. Your tires aren’t totally bald yet and don’t need to be replaced immediately, but you should be aware that you’ll need to be purchasing tires within the next several months, depending on how much you drive.
Basic Tire Care
Tires can wear out more quickly when you don’t take good care of them. Here are a few tips to help ensure that your tires wear out evenly and last as long as expected:
- Make sure that you have your car alignment checked every other oil change and corrected as needed.
- Make sure that your tires are inflated to your manufacturer’s specifications. Tires that are under or overinflated can wear out quickly or even burst when driving.
- Have your tires balanced and rotated every 4,000 to 6,000 miles, as well as whenever a tire has been patched or repaired.
At Bryant Motors, we care for the safety of our fellow Central Missourians long after they drive off of our Sedalia car lot. Even after you’ve purchased your new or used Dodge, Jeep or Chrysler, our exceptional service department can help keep you safe on the roads with scheduled maintenance.