How to do the ‘Penny Test’ to Check Your Tire Treads

Make sure your car is ready for the snow and ice this winter. The first thing you want to check is your tires. When the tread is worn below 2/32 of an inch, it’s time to replace your tires.

A quick and easy way to check tread depth is with the penny test. All you need is a penny.

  1. Place penny head-down between the tread ribs on your tire (a rib is the raised portion that runs all the way around your tire, with several ribs making up your tread)
  2. Check how much of Abe’s head is visible. If the top of Abe’s head goes between the ribs, your tread is above 2/32 of an inch and still good, if you can see his entire head above the ribs, your tread is too worn-down and it’s time to replace your tires)
  3. Repeat the test in several spots around the tire (Uneven tread wear is a sign of improper inflation, or possible wheel alignment issues)
  4. Visually inspect for dry-rotting on the tread and sidewall
  5. Repeat the penny test and visual inspection on each tire

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