How to Determine If You Need New Tires

Did you know that driving with worn tires, or tires with little to no tread, is extremely dangerous? Worn tires can alter your car's performance and affect your and your passenger's safety. But how do you know whether your tread is too low? Fortunately, you can track your tire tread depth at home, all by using a penny. Today, we'll be going over the penny test hack and why tread depth is so important.

How to Do the Penny Test

According to transportation laws in the US, your tires need to be at least 2/32" to pass your vehicle inspection. Once they've worn down close to that point, you will need to replace the tires. However, 2/32" is challenging to measure because it is so small. If you don't have a fancy, specialized tread measuring tool lying around, you can gauge your tread depth with the penny test.


  • Place the penny with Lincoln's head upside down into one of the ridges in your tire.
  • If any part of his head is covered by the tire, it means your tires are still in good condition.
  • If you can see his head entirely, then it means that your tread has been worn to 2/32" or less. You will need to head to a tire shop for a tire replacement as soon as possible.

The Risks of Low Tire Tread 

Even though it is industry standard to change your tires once they reach 2/32", you may have already noticed a decline in performance well before then. When tire tread gets low, it is less likely to grip the road properly. For example, if it rains, the likelihood of hydroplaning increases. It can be even more dangerous in freezing conditions too. Moreover, your gas mileage, brake performance, and vehicle handling may all decline. The tires are also more prone to punctures and blowouts in some cases. 


Therefore, if your vehicle fails the penny test (or is on the edge of failing), we highly encourage you to change your tires ASAP! We invite you to Tom's Auto Center in McFarland, Wi, for reliable and quality tire replacements.


New Tires