Learning how to identify when you need to purchase new tires can be a daunting task. However, we hope to make that process a little easier. First, you must understand that it is important to check your tires at least once a month. The reason being is that you want to ensure that your tires are safe to drive on, or determine if they are in need of service or replacement. If you find that your tire is flat from a puncture from a nail or other road hazard, then there is still a chance the tires can be repaired. Your chances for repair or highest when:

  1. You have not driven on the damaged tire while it is flat.
  2. Any damage appears on the tread part of the tire (the area that comes in contact with the road)
  3. Finally, if the puncture is less than a ¼ inch.
    If you feel your tire exhibits any of these conditions, contact your local auto service center immediately. They can tell you if your tire can be repaired or needs to be replaced. Remember, worn tires are not only unsafe to drive on; they are against the law. Legally the minimum tire tread depth is 2/32 inch. When the road is wet, 4/32 or less tread can mean a high risk of significant loss in wet traction. In other words, hydroplaning, which can put both the passenger and you at risk.

Below are the two most common ways to check for worn tires:

1. Penny Test

To test to see if your tread has been worn out, place a penny into the most shallow tread groove with Lincoln’s head facing down. If the top of his head is still visible, then the tire needs to be replaced.

2. Look for the wear bars

The wear bars are the narrow bands that appear in the grooves across the tread of the tire. When the wear bars are even with the depth of the tread, that means that only 2/32-inch of tread is remaining. If you are able to see the wear bars, then you tire needs to be replaced.