When should I buy new tires for my car?

Finding out that you need new tires can be accomplished in one of two ways: the hard way, and the safe way. Fortunately, finding out the safe way only costs you a penny.

In most states, a tire is considered legally bald when it’s worn down to 2/32” of remaining tread. If you don’t know what 2/32” looks like, there are two methods of determining this.

Wear Bars

Tires are required to have built-in wear bars, or rubber nubs, that act as visual indicators that your tire is nearing the end of its usefulness. You can find these wear bars by looking between the tire’s treads. If the bars are prominently exposed, your tire should be replaced.

The Penny Test

Another method is by inserting the tip of a Lincoln penny into the grooves of your tire. The distance between the edge of the penny and the tip of President Lincoln’s head is 2/32". Therefore, if the top of Lincoln's head is still obscured, you’ve still got tread remaining. There may be situations when your tires have plenty of tread but should be replaced anyway (damaged sidewalls, bulges or flat spots).

To be sure, have your tires checked by a professional today.

Yellowbook Answers Disclaimer

The Yellowbook Answers are provided as a service to users of yellowbook.com and are not intended to replace advice from qualified professionals. Yellowbook makes no promise, guarantee or warranty regarding the comprehensiveness, accuracy or reliability of the information provided.