How much tread should I have on my tires?  

How much tread should I have on my tires?

The law for minimum tread depth on your passenger car tires is 2/32", which happens to be the distance on american pennies from the top of Lincoln's head to the edge of the coin. So place Lincoln upside down, and put the penny in a groove in your tire. If even a small amount of his head is covered by the tread, your tires are fine, according to the law.

That's the law in most states. Personally, I'll drive with tread that low in summer, as I live in an area where we get almost no rain for 3 months straight. The rest of the year, I want more tread. If you hit a lot of water on the highway with only 2/32" tread, you could be in for some hydroplaning, and the scare of your life. Definitely not worth the risk! And don't take the car out in the snow when you're near minimum.

If you're driving in rain, use a quarter and see if Washington's head is covered by the tread. His head is at 4/32".

How do you know when you need tires or they are just trying to sell you tires?

If you stick a quarter upside down in the groove of your tire, and his head is partially covered by the tread, you should be fine for tread depth in dry or wet driving conditions. If you can see the top of Washington's head, you should be considering new tires.

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