Tires are designed with treads that provide your vehicle with traction. This traction keeps your vehicle driving along the road – even in inclement weather. Without tread, the elements would literally lift your tires off the road. When you drive through snow or a puddle, the grooves in between the tread blocks of the tires become channels that divert the water or snow away from the tires, allowing the tires to maintain traction in these slick conditions.
When the tread gets worn down, the water, snow, and other slippery substances don’t have anywhere to go except directly under your tires severely decreasing your vehicle’s traction. If your tires are nearly bald, traction will be eliminated completely. Decreased traction will negatively affect your control over the vehicle, making it unsafe for you and your passengers. Tread depth will determine whether or not you require new tires. You can easily tell if your tires’ tread is too worn by using a penny.
Take The Penny Test
Who says a penny doesn’t buy you anything? With this easy test, a penny can buy you peace and mind when it comes to your tire safety.
Place a penny head first into several tread grooves across the tire. If you always see the top of Lincoln’s head, your treads are shallow and worn. If this is the case, your tires need to be replaced. If part of Lincoln’s head is always covered by the tread, you have more than 2/32 of an inch of tread depth remaining. This means you probably don’t need new tires.
Why Worry About Tread Wear?
The most important reason to worry about tread wear is safety. When your tire treads are worn, your vehicle may respond poorly in adverse weather conditions like rain and snow. With good treads, your vehicle will grip the road better. Also, having insufficient tread is considered illegal in many states. And finally, worn treads can make other parts of your vehicle wear prematurely.
Potential Problem Areas
- Excessive wear in the center tread indicates over inflation of the tire.
- Excessive wear on the shoulders may signal problems such as under inflation of the tire.
- Uneven tread wear indicates poor wheel alignment.
- Excessive wear on one side of the tire signals incorrect camber angle.
- If the treads on the outer section become knobby, it may signal problems with the toe-in value.