Are My Tires Worn Out?
Knowing when to replace your tires can be tricky. With a few simple tips, you will know what to look for. We have outlined the three most popular methods:
TREAD DEPTH GAUGE METHOD
Using a tread depth tool, you can get the most accurate measurement of the condition of you tires. This is how the pros would do it. Simply place the tool over your tread and press down on the top and read out the measurement bar. We recommend using a tool that come with a color coded readout that tells you how your tires are doing.
RED: Tread is 2/32nd of an inch or less. This means tires no longer legally pass safety.
YELLOW: Tread is between 3/32nds and 5/32nds. This means the tires have some life left but performance is significantly sacrificed at this point.
GREEN: 6/32nds and up. Tires are at a healthy tread depth and will preform well.
***for winter tires to be effective an extra 2/32nds should be added to these thresholds to accommodate for snow.
TREAD DEPTH INDICATOR METHOD
Every tire has a “tread depth indicator” built into the tread. This ridge simply tells you that the tire is completely worn out when the tread is level with the indicator (see picture).
One thing to keep in mind: The performance of the tire gradually decreases as your tread nears this indicator. That means that stopping distance, for example, will be at its best when the tire is new. When the tire is partially worn out, the stopping distance will have deteriorated somewhat. When the tire is completely worn out, the stopping distance is at its worst. The same concept applies to the tire’s overall grip, ride comfort, and hydroplaning. Thus, the best practice is to replace your tires before they reach the indicator.
This is the least effective method and used only for purposes of checking if the tire is worn out or not. Place a Canadian quarter upside down in the tread grooves and if the tread is at or below the Queen’s hair, the tires are worn out.