When to Replace Your Tires
You’re driving at 65 mph with the kids in the back and the rain pouring down when a deer dashes across the highway. You nail the brakes and . . . what happens next may hinge on how worn your tires are. And now isn’t the time to realize you need new ones.
Too many drivers don’t think about their tires until they have to swerve or brake suddenly, or they have a flat—often with serious consequences. About 9 percent of vehicle crashes are tire-related, according to estimates from a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. But many could be prevented just with proper tire maintenance.
So it’s important to inspect your tires every month for wear. To gauge tread depth, all you need is a quarter. Put George Washington’s head into one of the big grooves. If the top of his head is flush with the tread, you have about 4/32 inch of tread left, meaning you have some grip remaining for rainy or snowy conditions. That’s the time when you should start shopping for new tires. If you can see space above Washington’s head, you may need to replace your tires immediately.
There are lots of good tire choices, but the right one depends on your car, where you live, and your driving needs and style.