Your tires are the part of the car that touches the road. They’re responsible for a smooth and safe ride. Learn how to measure tire tread depth and know what your tires are trying to tell you. 

What You Can Learn by Looking at Your Tires 

Every month, it’s a good idea to inspect your tires. You can check the tread of your tires using a penny. Insert the penny into the tire’s tread. Stick it upside down and look to see how much of Lincoln’s head you see. If you can see all of his head, it’s time to replace your tires. If you don’t have a penny, look for the treadwear indicator bars that are molded into the tire tread. If the bars are flush with the ribs, the tire needs to be replaced. 

But look closer at the wear of your tread. 

  • If the tread looks more worn in the center of the tire, and not on the edges, your tire might be overinflated. 
  • Conversely, if the edges of the tear are more worn than the center, your tire might be underinflated. 
  • If only one edge of the tire tread is worn, you could have a wheel alignment problem or suspension issue. 
  • If the tread appears to have high and low spots around the tire, you may have a wheel that’s out of balance, but it could also be worn shock absorbers. 
  • Look at the sidewalls for damage. If the sidewalls bubble or bulge, the tire will need to be replaced. 

You may want to keep a tire pressure gauge in your car to help you inflate your tires to the right level. Check your tire pressure monthly, especially when the weather changes. Temperature changes affect tire pressure. Ask your tire shop mechanic to teach you how to check the pressure if you’re not sure how. 

How Your Tires Act During Driving to Know if You have a Problem 

Your tires will act differently when the tread is wearing. Listen for unusual noises or thumping when driving. This can indicate that a tire is out of balance or that a certain spot is worn from locking the wheels. If the steering wheel pulls to one side, you may have an underinflated or damaged tire. However, it could also indicate a problem with the brakes or an alignment issue. 

Your Mechanic Can Help You Maintain Your Tires 

Next time you’re searching for a “tire shop near me,” think of Thompson Automotive. If you’re not sure about tire tread, our mechanics are happy to help you with service, repairs, replacements and re-alignment. Contact us for an inspection or ask us next time you’re in for service.