THE PENNY TEST
The easiest way to check wear on your tire is with a penny. Place a penny upside down in between the tire tread as shown. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, the treads are worn and tire replacement is needed.
DIGITAL AND MECHANICAL TOOLS
A quick and easy way to check your tire wear is with a tread depth gauge. It measures tire tread depth from 0 to 19/32 inch. These tools come in either digital or mechanical versions.
Tire replacement is absolutely needed when the tread wear indicators appear. A tire’s built-in tread wear indicators look like narrow strips of smooth rubber across the tread and become visible as the tire surface wears. Routine tire rotations are recommended to help ensure that your tires wear evenly. Check for the various signs listed below.
Excessive wear on the inner or outer edge of the tire, commonly known as toe wear, suggests a wheel alignment issue. This typically produces a feathered wear pattern across both front tires.
Uneven wear on one side of a tire tread may occur when the tire is leaning due to camber misalignment.
Center wear occurs when a tire is overinflated, resulting in the center of the tire wearing more quickly than the edges.
Cupping wear occurs when a suspension/balance may be worn, bent, or somehow compromised. You’ll notice a diagonal scalloping pattern on the tire.
Edge wear occurs when a tire is underinflated, resulting in the edge of the tire wearing more quickly than the center.
Tread wear indicators appear when the tires only have 2/32 inch or less of tread remaining. Rubber in tires ages over time. This also applies to the spare tire (if available), even if it is never used. Multiple factors including temperature, load conditions, and inflation pressure maintenance affect how fast tires age.
Tires age when stored mounted on a parked vehicle. Park a vehicle that will be stored for at least a month in a cool, dry, clean area away from direct sunlight to slow aging. The area should be free of grease, gasoline, or other substances that can deteriorate rubber. This also applies to unmounted tires.
Parking for an extended period of time can cause flat spots on the tires that may result in vibrations while driving. When storing a vehicle for more than a month, remove the tires or raise the vehicle to reduce the weight off of the tires.
It’s important to select the right set. Find the proper tires that match your vehicle by using our Tire Finder tool.