When Should I Buy New Tires & How to Identify Tread Wear

Posted by Derrest Williams on

You have been on your favorite tread for some time now and hit the neighborhood U-turn as always.  This time you noticed a slight difference in the standard traction you usually experience.  You stop and think, and realize you are getting close to the DOT Rated mileage (TreadWright is 40,000 Miles DOT).  It is time to check your tread depth.  

Tread Wear Depth Chart 

On your typical Mud Terrain and All Terrain Tires, the chart below is a good standard to go by 

Tread Depth Chart 

However, if you drive Truck Tires in wet/rainy conditions you should consider replacing your tires when they reach 4/32" of remaining tread depth. This is because water cannot be compressed with low tread depth. Instead, your tires should have significant tread depth to compress the water so it can evade through the tire grooves. If water cannot pass through the tire grooves, the tires will lose traction and increase the possibility of your truck losing control or being stuck off road. 

For snowy conditions, we recommend keeping a close eye on your tread.  One could argue that replacing every 6/32" of remaining tread is good practice to ensure the maintenance of great mobility and traction.  As you would assume,  snowy conditions need deep tread depth because the tire will compress the snow into the grooves and releases it as the vehicle thrust.  Historically, TreadWright Tires have performed well in the snowiest of conditions from snow plowing to blizzard storms.  Overall, TreadWright takes pride in their tires handling the toughest conditions. 

How to Determine if your Tires need a Replacement

Inspect your tire constantly looking for 
  • Shallow Tread
  • Uneven Tread Wear
  • Road Hazards (Nails, Curbs Hits, Rocks) 
  • Damaged Valve Caps
  • Damaged areas
How do your tires "feel" as you drive?
  • Experiencing mostly a rough ride can be signs of excessive wear or tire damage.
  • Experiencing high vibrations 

Types of Tire Wear and Solutions 

Irregular wear of your tires can be frustrating causing an unpleasant ride, minimized tire performance and tough steering scenarios. Below are some variables that can cause a tire to wear.  

One-Sided Wear 
  • This wear is due to misalignment; when the tire top leans towards or away from the vehicle. Meaning your wheels aren’t parallel thus there is a problem with the toe since your vehicle isn’t straight.  One-side wear may also be caused by mechanical parts such as damaged, bent or worn out front-end parts i.e. ball joints and tie rods.
Wear on both shoulders 
  • This type of wear is mainly caused by underinflation since the edges may be having excessive contact with the surface.  If your tires wear on both sides, you will realize decreased fuel economy so you should ensure your tires are correctly pumped. Ensure you inflate the tires according to the manufacturer's instructions. Ensure you use air pressure gauge to check your tires pressure regularly.
Centre Wear
  • Overinflation causes central wear. Excess air makes the middle part of the tire have more road contact. Central wear can compromise the traction and braking; ensure you check with your manufacturer for the recommended air level.
Unusual Wear 
  • Mechanical parts issues can cause feathering, scalloped, cupping, or spotting wear since the tire is not tracking straight. There are could be several problems like worn suspension components, loose wheel bearings, aggressive braking or mismounted or imbalanced wheels.  Unusual wear can lead to serious problems like compromised traction and braking, unsafe driving, and reduced tire life. Since unusual wear is dangerous, you should consult a tire expert or visit your nearest garage.  Since one-side wear reduces steering response and tire life, you should seek proper wheel alignment from a professional dealer.

How to Measure Wear of your Tires 

The Penny Tread Depth Wear Test

The Penny Test: Who said a Penny can't buy you anything? In this case, it can buy you peace of mind.  Simply insert a penny into your tire's tread groove with Lincoln's head upside down and facing you.  If you can see all of Lincoln's head, your tread depth is less than 2/32" and it's time to replace your tires.

The Quarter Tread Test The Quarter Test:

Another easy coin test is the quarter test. Insert a quarter into your tread groove. If the tread touches Washington's head, you have at least 4/32" of tread remaining.

TreadWear Indicator Bar The Indicator Bar: 

Another way to check tread depth is to look at the treadwear indicator bar that's molded into our some of our TreadWright Tires. The bars are located at the bottom of the tread grooves in several locations around the tire. When these bars become visibly flush with the adjacent ribs the tire has no more than 2/32" of tread remaining. 

Tread Depth Tire Gauge

US Coins work great for an educated estimate, but to truly get an accurate measure we recommend using a certified tire tread gauge that can be found at any automotive retail shop.

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  • Informative Article!

    Thank you for sharing the article. The points that you have included about when buying new tires are great ones.

    If you are looking to buy off road tires, off road wheels, dually wheels, wheel accessories, etc. You can get the best selection of tires from National Tire & Wheel.

    Go to: https://ntwonline.com

    National Tire & Wheel on
  • Informative Article!

    Thank you for sharing the article. The points that you have included about when buying new tires are great ones.

    If you are looking to buy off road tires, off road wheels, dually wheels, wheel accessories, etc. You can get the best selection of tires from National Tire & Wheel.

    Go to: https://ntwonline.com

    National Tire & Wheel on
  • It was helpful when you explained that high vibrations can be a sign that the tires on your vehicle have high tread wear. My wife was driving home on the highway after doing some grocery shopping and she told me that the front two wheels felt like they were shaking a lot. I’m going to have to take the car to a mechanic to see if I need new tires or not. http://www.eastbaytire.com/services/stockton/

    Thomas Clarence on
  • I want a Terrain tire, size 275/65/18.
    Can you supply this tire?

    Rolando Gonzalez on
  • Looking for 35×12.5×22s

    Harry Irizarry Jr on
  • 4 Brand new Tires Goodrich tire 275/70 18=

    Calvin Gillett on
  • I have been a Treadwright customer for years now. Always happy with the tread life. I am in Arizona. The last thing I would ever want is to be stuck in 115 degree heat because of a tire issue. The tires balance out nicely on my lofted 4×4. I can go anywhere. On the freeway the truck just glides smoothly down the road. I could let go of the steering wheel if I wanted to. Thank you for a great product at a amazing price. Best value out there. I laugh when people tell me they buy expensive tires for their trucks and Jeeps. I enjoy seeing their faces when I refer them to Treadwright. The quality is outstanding

    Bill Bethel on
  • When you use the word blemish for your tires what exactly do you mean, how does your warranty apply to this particular wording also?

    Denis J Turcotte on
  • What is the warranty in miles or years For a Lt 265 70 17 E-rated tire on the retread portion or Remold portion of the casing?

    Denis on
  • Thanks for the information

    Rebecca Farmer on

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