It takes about six years until the treads of a tire are absolutely worn out and need to be replaced. If you’re unsure how long you’ve had your tires, it’s a good idea to check the tread depth and wear conditions of your tires every few days. It’s important to be aware of your tire tread depth, as driving on heavily worn tires can be a safety hazard to you and others on the road.
Tire Treads and Driving Safety
Tire treads allow your car to maintain friction on the road when driving. If your tire treads are too shallow, your tires won’t be able to grip wet or snowy roads, risking hydroplaning. Your car’s traction may be non-existent in these conditions, which is extremely dangerous for you, your passengers, and other drivers. Reduced tire tread can mess with turning, braking, acceleration, fuel efficiency, and traction, and worn tires can also increase the risk of a blowout.
Tire treads are measured by inches—specifically, by 32nds of an inch. New tire treads usually range from 10/32-11/32 of an inch. The legal minimum limit for tire treads is 2/32 of an inch, though you should start looking for new tires once your tread depth is around 4/32 of an inch. Remember—the lower your tread depth, the less safe your tires are.
Measuring Tire Tread Depth
There are multiple ways to measure your tire tread depth. Find the tire tread indicator, or the “wear bar,” a raised “bar” between the grooves of your tire. If the surrounding tread has worn down to the height of the wear bar, it means it’s time for immediate replacement.
Another easy way to accurately measure your tire tread depth is to use the quarter test. Turn the quarter so Washington is upside down, then place it between the treads. If the top of Washington’s head is covered, your treads are over 4/32 of an inch. If the top of his head shows, it’s time to start looking for replacement tires.
Tire Replacement with Advanced Repair
If you’re looking for more assistance or information on your tires or tire treads, Advanced Repair can help. As a NAPA AutoCare Center, we specialize in auto repair and maintenance. Our ASE-certified technicians can help you find the right tires for your vehicle and get you safely back on the road. Request an appointment with us today.