How To Do The Penny Test To Check Your Tire Tread

Using a penny to check tread depth on a tire

Maintaining proper tire tread is crucial for the safety and performance of your vehicle. One simple and effective way to check your tire tread is by using the penny test. If you’re not sure how to complete the penny test, just follow the simple steps outlined by the team at Les Schwab.

What is Tire Tread?

Tire tread refers to the grooves on the surface of your tires that provide traction and grip on the road. These grooves are designed to channel water away from the tire, allowing it to maintain contact with the road even in wet conditions. Over time, the tire tread gradually wears down due to regular use, reducing its ability to grip the road effectively.

Why is Tire Tread Important?

Proper tire tread depth is crucial for several reasons. First and foremost, it plays a significant role in maintaining traction. Insufficient tread depth can result in decreased grip on the road, increasing the risk of accidents, especially during wet or slippery conditions. Additionally, the worn-out tread can lead to longer braking distances and reduced stability, making it harder to control your vehicle.

The Penny Method

Performing the penny test is a simple yet effective way to determine if your tires have sufficient tread depth. All you need to complete the penny test is five minutes, your vehicle, and a penny. Pick a tire to begin testing by following these steps.

First, you need to locate the tread wear indicator bars. Look for small raised bars that run perpendicular to the tire tread. These bars are often molded into the tread grooves and serve as indicators of tire wear. Next, you will insert the penny into the tread groove. Simply, take the penny and place it into one of the grooves, with Lincoln’s head facing downward. Ensure that the penny is inserted into the groove at the shallowest point. You will then want to observe the results. Take a close look at how much of Lincoln’s head is visible. If the tread reaches the top of Lincoln’s head or covers a significant portion of it, your tire tread is still in good condition. However, if you can see all of Lincoln’s head, it indicates that the tread depth is too shallow, and it’s time to replace your tires.

If you want a more precise measurement, you can use a ruler to measure the remaining tread depth. New tires typically have a tread depth of around 8/32 of an inch (6.4 mm), and it is recommended to replace them when the depth reaches 2/32 of an inch (1.6 mm). Whether you use a penny or a ruler, be sure to repeat the process for all tires. You want to ensure even wear and consistent performance on all your tires, so perform the penny test on each of your tires individually.

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Check Your Tread Regularly

Regularly checking your tire tread is an essential part of vehicle maintenance and safety. By using the penny test, you can easily determine if you need to replace your tires. If your tires fail the penny test, come see us. The team at Bob Brady Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram Fiat are happy to help you find high-quality, durable replacements.

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