Tire Repair and Maintenance Tips
Properly maintained tires will help give you a more comfortable ride and a longer tread life. So:
- Properly (e.g., cold) check your tire pressure monthly.
- Check your tires frequently for any cuts, snags, punctures, any other injury, or irregular tire wear.
- At the first sign of irregular treadwear, have your alignment checked.
- Make sure the tires are balanced when they are mounted on the wheels.
- Rotate your tires following the schedule in your vehicle owners manual or as required by the tire manufacturer’s warranty.
- Take special care when braking, accelerating, cornering, etc., to help increase the life of the tire. If you have concerns about the rate of wear on your tires, consult your local authorized City Garage Service Center.
Measuring Tire Tread Depth with a Coin
U.S. coins can be substituted for a tire tread depth gauge as tires wear to the critical final few 32nds of an inch of their remaining tread depth.
- Place a penny into several tread grooves across the tire. If part of Lincoln’s head is always covered by the tread, you have more than 2/32″ of tread depth remaining.
- Place a quarter into several tread grooves across the tire. If part of Washington’s head is always covered by the tread, you have more than 4/32″ of tread depth remaining.
- Place a penny into several tread grooves across the tire. If the top of the Lincoln Memorial is always covered by the tread, you have more than 6/32″ of tread depth remaining.
Once you have determined the approximate remaining tread depth in the first location, you can complete your measurement of each tire by placing the coin into additional locations at lease 15 inches apart around the tire’s central circumferential groove, as well as in its inner and outer grooves. This will help detect uneven wear caused by mechanical or service conditions.
According to most states’ laws, tires are legally worn out when they have worn down to 2/32″ of remaining tread depth. To help warn drivers that their tires have reached that point, tires sold in North America are required to have indicators molded into their tread design called “wear bars” which run across their tread pattern from their outside shoulder to inside shoulder. Wear bars are designed to visually connect the elements of the tire’s tread pattern and warn drivers when their tires no longer meet minimum tread depth requirements.
However, as a tire wears it’s important to realize that the tire’s ability to perform in rain and snow will be reduced. With 2/32″ of remaining tread depth, resistance to hydroplaning in the rain at highway speeds has been significantly reduced, and traction in snow has been virtually eliminated.
If rain and wet roads are a concern, you should consider replacing your tires when they reach approximately 4/32″ of remaining tread depth. Since water can’t be compressed, you need enough tread depth to allow rain to escape through the tire’s grooves. If the water can’t escape fast enough, your vehicle’s tires will be forced to hydroplane (float) on top of the water, losing traction.