Tire manufactures suggest you replace your tires when they are worn down to 3/32 of an inch. State requirements allow you to go as low as 2/32 of an inch. These guidelines are to protect you from tire failure. Losing a tire while on the highway or even in the city can cause serious damage to you and your car.
The tread on tires serves several purposes. One crucial aspect is to help divert water from under your tires so you don’t hydroplane. From when your tires are new to when they get down to around 2/32 of an inch, they will perform as designed. But once you break that threshold, your tires are no longer safe.
So how do you know when your tread is too low? Well there are a few tricks. The first is to check for wear bars in the grooves of the tire. These are little bars that span the gap between treads. These bars mark the lowest level your tread can reach before becoming unsafe. If your tread is even with these bars, get some new tires right away.
Another trick is the famous penny test. If you hold a penny upside-down and place it in the groove of the tire, you should not be able to see the very top of Abraham Lincoln’s head. If you can, it’s time to get new tires.
If you can see the hair on the top of his head, it’s probably time to begin shopping.
But if his hair is covered, you should be good to go.