As a Boston tire shop, we get questions all the time about the proper time to replace tires on a car. The best course of action is to bring your car to a reputable service facility. However, there is a quick way to gauge the condition of your tires that you can do yourself! It's an old trick known as the penny test.
Our friends at the Car Care Council do a great job of describing the penny test:
Simply stick an upside down penny, with Lincoln’s face toward you, into the tread on both the inside and outside of the tire. If you can see the top of Lincoln”s head anywhere, the rubber has worn down far enough to warrant a new set.
To be safe, we’d recommend performing this test monthly – even with new tires – because the penny can also tell you if your tires are wearing unevenly. Uneven wear can occur because of over- or under-inflated tires, unbalanced tires or simply from a car’s natural weight dispersion and suspension geometry. If there is a noticeable difference in the tread wear between the front and back tires or on an individual tire, it’s best to take the vehicle to the mechanic and have it checked out.
And remember, there's a lot more that can go wrong with tires than just wear - from dry cracking to shifted belts - so it's always best to have a trained eye looking out for you. Thankfully, you have us! We're always here to make sure that your travels are safe ones!