It may be easy to simply place a penny into the tread of your tire to determine the approximate time of replacing tires but it should not be taken lightly.
This particular penny method to determine tread depth test has been used for years and is widely known as a popular technique to determine a rough estimation of when to replace car tires. The way to determine this is to see if the tread wear falls below the top of the head of the face on the penny. If so, it is time to replace your vehicles’ tires for not just one, but all four of your rims.
The ability of a driver to adequately control their car really is dependent on the traction between the surface of the road and the tread of their tires. Contrary to popular believe, tires do not need fancy tread designs or even a lot of tread depth to provide adequate traction on dry road conditions. One good example of this is the ‘racing slicks’ utilized on stock cars and open-wheel race cars, for professional races, that supply capable traction when the vehicles’ travelling at speeds of 200 miles per hour or more. On the other hand, tires do need tread designs to create traction on wet or snow covered roads. Liquids cannot be compressed and depend upon time and energy to redirect them out of the way as the vehicles’ tires drive through them. If one used racing slicks during wet conditions they would lose traction at even at very slow speeds anytime something stopped them from maintaining proper contact with the asphalt.
Now the question arises of whether tread design is actually necessary to redirect water from between the tire tread and the road. A further thought is whether it will provide edges that grip into snowy conditions. However, that is only half the thought since we have already seen that tread depth also contributes to how well the design performs its job.
The air our tires’ confronts at extremely high highway speeds can easily be compressed and redirected away without too much difficulty. Howbeit, the same cannot be said for liquids. When water forms on the road surface after rainfall, the depth of the water, speed and weight of the vehicle, as well as the tread pattern and depth of the tires basically influences when and if the tires will hydroplane and how effectively they can bring a vehicle to a complete halt.
An average passenger car tire has about 25 square inches of total surface that contacts the road and starts with about 1/3 inch of tread depth. Even though the larger part of the contact surface is composed of the rubber that grasps the surface of the road, the remaining parts make up the spaces between the groove patterns which make up the tread design.
It is true that the tread will eventually wear out during the span of the life of the tires and the volume of its tread groove patterns will have greatly decreased thereby causing a need to replace the car tires. Albeit, this happens very slowly and may not be easily noticed on day by day basis, but eventually there will come a time when the driver will observe that their vehicle is providing less grip on snow covered roads and easily hydroplane on wet road conditions or simply fail to stop at shorter distances during rainy weather.
If you live in an area where it frequently rains or snows and wet or slick road conditions are a concern, you should really consider replacing tires when you notice that they are reaching about 5/32 inch of the overall remaining tread depth of the tires on your rims. Considering water is not easily compressed, your vehicle will require adequate tread depth to allow rain water to be redirected away via the grooves of your tires. If the water does not get redirected quickly enough, it will result in your vehicle hydroplaning on the surface of the water which will cause you to lose crucial traction and double the stopping distance for your vehicle.
Furthermore, for places where snowstorms are a common occurrence, one needs to contemplate the proper time to replace car tires which is when they reach about 5/32 inch of the remaining tread depth. Knowing when to replace tires in these types of weather conditions is critical to maintain good mobility or your car or truck. More tread depth is required in snow covered road conditions since the tires need to compact the snow into the grooves and eject them as they spin. If there is not enough depth left on the treads then only smaller chunks of snow are actually grabbed by the tires as opposed to taking larger chunks which increases the vehicles’ traction. That is why replacing tires when it is necessary greatly improves the handling of the vehicle and mobility will not be sacrificed.
Even though the thought of replacing tires before they are legally worn out does not seem to be the most conservative practice, it is much less costly than having to fix your car if it is not able to completely stop in an emergency situation, because you did not know when to replace the tires on your vehicle. Play it safe and check the tires on your rims frequently so that you can easily determine the correct time to replace the car tires and ensure the safety of your driving experience in all kinds of weather conditions.