Look at almost any new car or SUV on the market today and you’ll find advanced safety features devoted to preventing accidents. Technology has come a long way since the invention of the automobile, but too many folks are neglecting one of that most basic of automotive safety components—the tires.

According to a study conducted by CheapCarInsurance.net there are an alarming number of cars out there cruising around on tires with tread depths that are not sufficient.

Image:cheapcarinsurance.net


Now, the study uses a super low sample size of only 238 vehicles and relies on the “penny test” to determine tread depth, but it is certainly not surprising that so many Americans are driving on tires that should probably be replaced. We’ve all seen normal people driving around on tires that are closer to slicks than all-weathers.

While the fine readers of this website surely pay close attention to their tires, sometimes the most basic maintenance is the most easily overlooked. Some might not even think about their tread health, until something goes wrong. The tread is made up of the grooves in your tires that remove moisture from the tire’s surface. When the tread wears down too far the grooves can’t work as effectively in pushing that moisture out from under the tire. You really do not want moisture building up under your tire as it’s moving as this causes a car to lose its grip on an icy or wet road.

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So how do you know when it is time to get new tires? There is the classic penny test as described in Cheapinsurance.net’s study.

Image:cheapcarinsurance.net


But there is also a simpler and more accurate way to check your tread. It’s called a tread wear indicator bar. These little bars are on your tires, inside the tread grooves running perpendicular to the tread.

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Image: Yokohamatire.com

When your tread wears down to the same surface as the bar, it’s time for new tires. I’d bet that if you were to take a walk around any parking lot you would find several cars with tires worn well beyond their bars. Remember; your tires are your first line of defense on the road. Good tires will help keep you, and everyone else on the road, safe.

Check your damn tires people!