With many years of experience in this field you come across a lot of upset customers when it comes to tires. How can you blame them though? It seems like they don’t last as long and are more expensive than they used to be. No one enjoys spending money on tires. However, they are the only thing that allows our vehicle to hold the road. Knowing what is safe and what is not is in your best interest.
The Penny Test – The general rule growing up has been that if you stick a penny upside-down in the tire tread and it doesn’t come up to the top of President Lincoln’s head, than you must replace your tire. This is a good tool to use for the average consumer who may or may not have a tire tread depth gauge. The actual measurement as described by the department of transportation is 2/32 of an inch. Below this tread depth your vehicle is at high-risk for hydroplaning during wet seasons. However, numerous studies by major companies such as Michelin have shown that even with double that tread, your chances are still exponentially greater than usual.
Check the Whole Tire – Most consumers make the mistake of checking the outside edge of the tires and ignore the inside edge, assuming that the tire is wearing evenly. Most cases of tire blowouts are caused by this. Generally, when tires are wearing in this uneven manner, the wear is on the inside edge of the tread where it may not be exposed to plain sight. When checking the front tires you can simply turn the steering wheel completely in one direction to expose the inner edges.
Repair or Replace? – Lastly, just because your tire is repairable doesn’t make it safe. Goodyear Tire Company has set 3 main rules in regards to unsafe repairs. The first rule is that if the tire is under 2/32nd’s of an inch of tread, than it is no good. Next, the hole in the tire must not be wider than ¼ of an inch. The 3rd rule is that the object must not have punctured the side-wall of the tire. Most tire shops follow these rules for your safety.
Ultimately, you are responsible for the quality of your tires and the safety of your vehicle. When in doubt, stop by any automotive or tire shop for a professional opinion. Most shops will give you an honest evaluation of your tires and will even measure them in front of you in a matter of minutes. Having your car regularly serviced is key to lowering maintenance costs and keeping you safe.
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