Why is Tire Tread Important?

The primary function of tire tread is to grip the road and divert water that causes hydroplaning. Tires with plenty of tread help you maintain control and reduce your chances of getting a flat tire, but the wear of your tires vary based on driving habits, weather and road conditions.

Inevitably, tires wear down over time and you’ll need to purchase new ones but when is the right time? A quick test using a quarter or penny can help determine how much tread is remaining and how soon you should plan to replace your tires.

  • The Quarter Test – Insert a quarter, Washington’s head pointed down, into your tread groove. If the tread touches Washington’s head, you have at least 4/32 inch of tread remaining.
  • The Penny Test – Insert a penny, Lincoln’s head pointed down, into your tread groove. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head, you have less than 2/32 inch of tread which is the legal minimum depth for drivable tread depth. It is time to replace your tires.
An example of good tire tread.
An example of bad tire tread.

Regardless of tread wear, many manufactures recommend replacing your tires after six years. You can check the manufacturer’s recommendations on your specific tires to be sure, but it’s a good idea to have them checked each year by a technician.