Tires on a shelf in a shop

What is the Quarter Tire Test?

How to Check if You Need New Tires on Your Car

Over time, the tread on tires will thin due to normal wear caused by gripping the road. Of course, you don’t want your tread to get too low because you will not be able to stop as effectively, making it dangerous to drive. To see if your tires have enough tread for your next adventure, use the quarter tire test to quickly check your tread.

[ READ MORE: When Should I Replace My Car’s Tires? ]

Close up of a person using a quarter to check tire tread

How to Use the Quarter Test on a Tire

Using the quarter test on a tire is easy and fast. Insert the quarter into the tread with Washington’s head facing you but upside down. From the top of his head to the edge of the coin is 1/8th of an inch, which is the minimum recommended tread. If you can see the top of the president’s head, it’s time to get new tires. If the top of his head is covered, you’re above 1/8th of an inch. Repeat this for each of your tires and note that any tires with thread measuring 1/8th of an inch or less are approaching their threshold.

Keep Receipts of Your Tire Purchases

If you are the type of driver that doesn’t drive frequently, your tires may need replacing before the tread gets too low. As a general rule of thumb, your tires should be replaced at least every five years. Be sure to keep receipts so you will know when you last purchased tires.

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