There are several ways to check the tread depth on your tires, but the simplest way requires only a penny. You may have heard of “The Penny Test” as a quick measure of tire tread depth. Perform this test below to help determine how much life you have left in your tires and when they need replacing.
Performing The Penny Test
Georgia law requires all tires to have not less than 2/32 of an inch tread in all major grooves. Using a penny, you can test to see if your tires meet this requirement.
The distance between the top of the penny and Abe Lincoln’s head is roughly 2/32nd of an inch. To check your tire tread depth, turn the penny upside down and stick it into the tread groove so that Abe goes headfirst into the tire. Use the image above for reference. If you can see the top of Abe’s head, your tire tread depth is less than 2/32nd of an inch, and your tires should be replaced. If Abe’s head is within the tread, your tires are fine. Be sure to perform this test in different locations around the circumference of your tire. Be sure also to perform this test on all four tires.
Why Check Tire Tread Depth?
Heavily worn-down tires will prevent the tire from performing as designed and can lead to unsafe driving conditions. This is especially true when driving in the rain. With adequate tire tread depth, your tires will better grip the road and provide increased handling. Once the tread becomes too shallow, your tires are more prone to slipping and sliding.
What Tire Wear Says About Your Vehicle
- Excessive wear on the outside shoulders of the tire may show the tire is underinflated.
- Excessive wear in the center may show the tire is overinflated.
- Uneven tread wear may show your wheels are misaligned.
- Excessive wear on one side of the tire may show an incorrect camber angle.
Schedule Tire Replacement Service with McCullough NAPA
McCullough NAPA Auto Care stocks many tire brands, including Michelin, Mastercraft, Goodyear, Dunlop, Continental, BF Goodrich, and more. If your penny test shows that your tire tread depth levels are too shallow, it’s time to replace your tires. Bring your vehicle to our shop, and our technicians can help determine which tires suit your driving style.