A handy trick for checking your tire's tread depth

Using a P1 coin
by Jason Tulio | Aug 29, 2017

Too many motorists out there take their tires' health for granted. A quick scan in traffic will reveal lots of bald rubber plying our streets every day. It's scary when you really think about it. 

One of the key things you need to monitor about your tires is their tread. Those are the grooves that run along the side of the tire that make contact with the ground. The purpose of tread is to expel water away from the tires to avoid hydroplaning. Over time, these grooves become shallower as your tires wear. If they get too shallow, you run the risk of losing control of your car in wet weather. Yikes!

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In some countries, the legal limit for tread depth is 1.6mm, but it's recommended you change your tires even earlier than that. There's a tool used to measure this, but we learned a neat trick that you can do anywhere, anytime. In the US, they have something called the quarter trick (as in a 25-cent coin) for checking a tire's tread depth. Our P1 coin is roughly the same diameter, so you can use that instead. 

Insert the coin into the groove, with Jose Rizal's head facing upright. If your tire's tread is still in good conditon, the year at the bottom (below Rizal's head) should at least partially be covered when inserted. If it falls below that, then it's time to invest in some new rubber. Be sure to do this test across the length of the tire. In the UK, it's legally required that the tread should be at least 1.6mm deep across 75% of the tire. 

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Tell us, do you have any other methods for checking your tires' condition? Share them in the comments.

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PHOTO: Mark Jesalva
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