Often an overlooked portion of your vehicle maintenance, tires are an important part of staying safe on the road. Luckily for drivers, inspecting them only takes a couple of minutes, and one item: a penny.

To perform the penny test:

  • Grab a penny (one that’s clean enough for you to clearly see Abe on it).
  • Turn it so Abe is upside down – think of head to the tread – and then insert it into the tread of a tire.
  • If you can only see half of Abe’s head, then that’s a good sign that you’ve got good tread depth on the tire. If you can see the top of Abe’s head, then it’s most likely 2/32″ or less of depth. That doesn’t give you a lot of traction to work with when driving, so you’ll want to think about replacement.
  • Repeat this test for every tire on your car, and also place it on different parts on the tire. If you haven’t been routinely rotating the tires or maintaining air pressure, then you might notice some sections of the tire have less tread than others.

If you do notice that your tires have uneven wear, then take note of where there’s less tire depth. This could help you diagnose the problem.

Center wear means the tires are overinflated, which causes the middle of the tire to continuously put pressure on that part.

Edger/shoulder wear signals your tires are underinflated, so the center part concaves and puts all the pressure on the outer sides of the tire.

Inconsistent inner or outer wear could be a sign that your tires are misaligned. This wear pattern is caused when a tire is leaning too much to one side, so the majority of pressure is put on the side.

Diagonal, uneven wear means that it’s time for a rotation. When out of balance, your vehicle isn’t putting even weight across the tires, so some sections start to wear down quicker.

After evaluating your tires and deciding that it might be time for replacements, bring your vehicle in to a trusted auto shop. Superior Service Center can help you choose the best tires for your vehicle and driving habits.