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There comes a time that all our tires need changing. So how do you know if you need new tires?

Do I Need New Tires?

There are a few things you can do. There’s the penny test, manufacture’s recommendation, a tread depth gauge, with the tread wear indicators, or by a professional.

Penny Test

The penny test might be the easiest one to perform. You take a penny and flip it so that Abraham Lincoln’s head is upside down and facing you. Hold the penny between your thumb and forefinger, then place the penny into one of the grooves.

new tires

If you can see Lincoln’s entire head that means that the tire needs to be changed. If a part of Lincoln’s head is still hidden, then your tires are fine. The treads are shallow and greatly reduces the grip of the tire on the road during dangerous weather.

Manufacture’s Recommendation

All tires should come with a manufacture’s recommendation on when to change them. A rule of them is that after five years, they should be inspected properly by a professional every year after. After 10 years since their manufacturing, they should be replaced regardless. It’s important to maintain safety on the road for yourself and others.

Tread Depth Gauge

If for some reason you don’t have a penny lying around to perform the penny test, you can use a tread depth gauge. This gauge does the same job as a penny. Tire Rack has a nice step-by-step on how to use one.

Tread Wear Indicators

There are indicators that are molded into your tires. These are bars that are located at the bottom of the tread grooves in several locations around the tire. When these bars become visibly flush with the adjacent ribs, the tire has no more than 2/32″ of tread remaining. This is the quickest and visible indication that the tire is worn out and should be replaced.

5 thoughts on “Do I Need New Tires?”

  1. My tires tread has been looking thin, but didn’t know if it was just me thinking that, or really needing new tires. It was helpful to learn that I can use a penny, and if Lincoln’s head isn’t covered, you need new tires. I’ll be sure to do this as soon as possible so I am driving on good tires.

  2. I have noticed that my tires aren’t looking very good, and I have been wondering if I need to get new ones. I have never heard of the penny test before. That sounds like a great way to test my tires. I will have to use my penny and see if I can see Lincoln’s head. Thank you for the tips!

    1. We’re so happy to help Deb! If you do end up needing new tires make sure to get them changed ASAP, we want you to be safe while driving!

  3. Thanks for the helpful trick of using the penny test. I will have to try pushing a penny into the grooves of my tires and seeing if his head is still visible. My car is fairly old so I think that I may need replacement tires soon. It’s probably a good idea to check a tire dealer’s website for reviews before purchasing from them.

  4. I like that penny test idea. I’ll have to use that test on tires and see if I can see Lincoln’s head. I live in a cold climate, so it’ll be important during the winter to have good tread.

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