We all know what it’s like to drive in the winter through the snow. We all get the same talk from our friends, family and mechanics, the “make sure you’re car is ready for the winter” talk. But, as much as we hate the nagging from them, they hold a lot of truth in their words. One thing you may never think to do is check your tire tread to see if you need new tires. For some people this is done by their mechanic but, you can actually check your tire tread on you own- and it’s easy!
The car industry recognized that there is a need for people to be able to accurately tell when they need new tires because for a long time most mechanics used the penny idea, if Lincoln’s head is showing then you need new tires. Well there is actually a tool called a ‘tire tread depth gauge’ which accurately tells you how much depth your tires have and when you need to change them. These tools are cheap and can be bought for less than $10 and are much better than using the penny method since there is no guessing, it tells you exactly where your tires tread depth is at that time.
Now, it is not easy to understand what the numbers mean on the actual gauge but remember that the tool measures in 32nd of an inch or millimeter. So, good tire tread depth will be 6/32 or deeper. 4/32 is when you should be thinking of replacing your tires and getting new ones on. 2/32 or less means you should change your tires asap. There is also the amount of stopping distance that also increases with lower tire tread which makes your car even more dangerous in wet or snowy conditions. Going off the same numbers at a 6/32 depth the stopping distance needed is around 185 feet in wet conditions. At 4/32 the stopping distance is 205 feet. Finally at 2/32 it’s 250 feet.
Now, there are ways to prevent your tire from wearing to quickly. Making sure that your tires are properly inflated helps keep uniform wear across your tires. You can also rotate your tires every 6,000 miles. Also, make sure your car’s alignment is correct, if your car is pulling to one side then your tires are going to wear faster on the side that it’s pulling to. You should also have a set of winter tires for your car as well as they are designed to handle slush, ice and snow significantly better than all season tires.
For more information check out this video: How- to: Check your tire tread