Your tires can tell you a lot about your vehicle and your driving habits. Keeping an eye on your tires can keep you safe, ensure your vehicle’s best performance and, ultimately, save you money. Read on to find out more.

The treads of your tire tell you a lot about your vehicle.
They can tell you a lot about your driving habits, maintenance you may need and it can tell you when your tires need to be replaced. Tread depth is the measurement between the top of the tire’s rubber to the bottom of the tire’s deepest grooves. Tire industry standard for tread depth in the United States is measured in 1/32 inch increments. New tires typically start with a tread depth of about 10 or 11/32 of an inch - that’s about 1/3 of an inch. As your tires wear, this tread depth will shrink.

When a tire’s tread depth wears down to below 4/32, it’s time to consider new tires, especially if you drive in rain or snow. Low tread depth means tires are unsafe in wet conditions and can be more prone to damage in hot weather. You’d be more susceptible to flats, punctures and blowouts. You can measure tread depth with a gauge specifically designed for it, but using U.S. coins has also been recommended. The trick with a penny is to put the penny, with Lincoln’s head facing down, into the shallowest groove on your tire. If all of Lincoln’s head is visible above the tread, it’s definitely time for new tires (this trick shows tread depth at  2/32” or less). To be even safer, you can use the same trick with a quarter using Washington’s head as a gauge (this trick shows tread depth at 4/32” or less).

Wear pattern of your tires also tells a story.
If your tires are wearing in the middle, they’re likely over-inflated. When your tires have too much air, that can cause a blowout and your tires can be more easily damaged by road debris. Over-inflation can also affect the comfort of your drive, making your ride feel more bumpy and interfere with smooth steering. Additionally, you’ll probably need new tires more often.

If the edges of your tires are wearing first, they’re probably under-inflated. When tire pressure is low, the tire sags, causing more of the rubber to interact with the asphalt. This increases friction which can cause the tires to overheat, making them more prone to damage and premature wear. Low tire pressure can hurt your vehicle’s handling as well, affecting performance and fuel economy.

If you’re finding wear patterns on the inner or outer shoulders, that could mean you need an alignment. Alignment problems can affect steering and suspension. It could also be a safety hazard. Diagonal or patchy wear might mean it’s time for a tire rotation. Getting your tires rotated regularly helps to prevent uneven wear and ensures a smooth ride.

There is a service department at all eight Folsom Auto Mall dealerships with technicians familiar with your vehicle. Check out our service department coupon, valid at any Folsom Auto Mall dealership. Or schedule service now and have our techs check out your tires!