Tire related issues cause over 11,000 crashes a year and over 200 fatalities. There is one simple tool in your wallet that can help you gauge whether your tires are safe enough. Using the simple penny tire test will help you identify if you need to replace your vehicle's tires. 

When tire groves aren’t deep enough to channel water from beneath the tread, driving can become extremely dangerous. The tread can skim the surface of water, snow, and ice, causing hydroplaning. This means the vehicle will no longer respond to the steering wheel and will slide out of control. Having little tread can cause your vehicle to skid when braking abruptly. Additionally, having insufficient tread is considered illegal in many states.

Even if your vehicle’s tires have a great amount of tread left on them, they also experience unusual wear. It can affect your tire life, fuel economy, and car handling.  This can also decrease vehicle gas mileage.

The Tire Penny Test

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The Penny Test is recommended to be performed on each tire. First, place a penny head into several tread grooves across the tire. If you repeatedly see the top of Lincoln’s head, your treads are very worn. If this is the case your tires need to be replaced. If part of Lincoln’s head is covered by the tread in all areas, you have more than 2/32 of an inch of tread remaining. This means you don’t need new tires immediately. To keep your tires in great condition and to be safe on the road, it is recommended that you perform The Tire Penny test every season 


The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends checking your vehicle’s tires at least once a month. This can easily be performed with a penny! Stay safe and always maintain good tread depth!