Deciding a new tire is important. Yet, it’s more important to know when to change your tires. As a former Bridgestone engineer, I can confidently say that the bad tire can save you, but the worn tire can’t.
Well, I can hear you saying how F1 cars don’t crash then. The answer is simple. The stickiness level of their tires is way much better than everyday life tires. So, don’t be under the illusion that.
I understand that you might prefer to loll about instead of going to the mechanic. Totally acceptable. However, there is a practical way to measure your tire tread depth. TIRE PENNY TEST!!
What is the Tire Penny Test?
The penny test is a tire measurement method that spots the dangerous tread depth. To perform this method, you don’t have to be an expert. You just need an Abraham Lincoln himself on the penny!
Though worth reminding, this test can’t give you your accurate tread depth but it can tell you are in danger or not.
How to Test a Tire with a Penny?
Now, it’s time to execute this test. I’m going to explain it step by step for a better understanding.
- Try to park your vehicle somewhere flat and make sure the handbrake is on
- Identify 2 or 3 spots. I generally do it from the right top side and left bottom side.
- Place the penny inside of the tread grooves upside down. In short, Lincoln’s head should get into tread first.
- Check if you can see Lincoln’s head. If you can see Lincoln’s head you’re fine. Though worth reminding, if you can only see the hairs, you’re close to replacing time.
The working principle of this test is elementary. Most states require a minimum of 2/32”(1.6 in millimeter) tread depth. Moreover, the same tread depth is also recommended for replacement by manufacturers. So, the distance between Lincoln’s head and the edge of the penny is the same. So, if you can’t see Lincoln’s head you’re out.
Note: Winter tires need at least 4/32” tread depth. So, you can’t take this test for winter tires. In this case, you need a quarter(the distance between Washington’s head and the edge is 4/32”) and follow the same steps.
If you wanna learn more about quarter test –> https://simpletire.com/learn/tire-maintenance-safety/penny-tire-test-quarter-tire-test
If you want to check the requirements for your state –> https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16854703/
Is it Accurate?
It depends on your expectations. It’s accurate to determine replacement time or legal requirements. However, you can’t measure the exact tread depth with this method.
If you’re looking for a practical solution, the penny test in your services. However, the late-life stages of tires can be dangerous. If you consider the penny test, you’re in it. So, even if you pass the penny test, I still recommend going to see a mechanic in a short time.
DAMN! I don’t have a penny!
- Check your tires have a wear bar or not
- Try to find a gauge
- Go mechanic! You’ll go there anyway!
DAMN! These tires are wearing out so quickly –> https://tireterrain.com/how-to-make-tires-last-longer/
If you have any further questions, please leave them in the below section. Have a safe ride folks!