When you think about preventative maintenance for your car, truck, or SUV, don’t forget about the tires and wheels. Your tires should be rotated every oil change or every other oil change depending on the manufacturer’s recommendations. Your wheels should be balanced after each rotation and aligned at least every two years. Tire rotations and wheel balances and alignments prevent your tire tread from wearing down unevenly. This extends the life of your tires. You can check your tread depth yourself to see if you need new tires. Keep reading because Car Fix is going to tell you how.
Grab a Penny and a Kid
This do-it-yourself inspection is the perfect opportunity to enlist your kids’ help and teach them a little bit about presidential history. All you need to see if your tire tread has worn down too low is a clean, shiny penny. You can also use a quarter if you prefer. Choose your coin and hand it to your assistant – one who won’t drop it. Then, grab a pen and a piece of paper to take notes just in case you need to.
Pull Your Vehicle into the Sunlight
Pull your car, truck, crossover, or SUV into the sunlight so you can see the coin easily underneath it. Put it in park, set the parking brake, and turn it off. If your assistant is old enough, he or she can test the tire depth with the coin and you can take notes. Otherwise, you do the testing. Both of you get on your hands and knees and start at the front tires. Plan to check each tire in several locations.
Check the Tread Depth
Insert the penny or quarter with the head side facing you between the tire tread rows on the first tire. If anyone can see all of the president’s head, your tire is bald and you need to buy a new one. If you notice the tread depth is bald in some areas and okay in others (the president’s head is partially covered by the tread), make note of which tires have uneven tire wear so you can replace them. Do this on all four tires.
Remember we mentioned presidential history above? Talk about President Lincoln or President Washington while you check the tire tread. The coins open up the conversation. If you need new tires, stop by Car Fix in Oak Ridge, TN. You can also call us at 865-214-6307.