If you're cutting corners by canceling cable or clipping coupons, it might occur to you to skip replacing your tires. Don't.
It's true that replacement tires are pricier than in the past because they've grown taller and wider. But worn treads can be dangerous.
Tires must be replaced when ...
The tread depth reaches 2/32 of an inch. Thas means tire are worn out, experts say. You can test their depth by sticking a penny in the tire grooves, pointing the top of Abraham Lincoln's head toward the rubber. If you can see all of his head, you need new tires because they don't have enough rubber left to stop or start safely, especially on wet or snowy surfaces. Tires also have "wear bars" that are perpendicular to the tread, so you'll see a stripe across the tread if they're worn out.
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Start looking for tires when ...
The tread depth reaches 4/32 of an inch, experts say. Once again, use the presidential test. Put a quarter in the grooves just like you did with the penny. If you can see all of George Washington's head, start tire shopping.
Make sure with replacement tires that ...
The outside diameter and width of the tires generally are the same as original tires, and the load-carrying capacity is the same or better. If the diameter is too far off, new tires will make speedometers and other vehicle gauges inaccurate because they are set to a certain number of tire revolutions per mile. A different width can hurt the vehicle's handling. If the load capacity is too low, it could be unsafe or make tires wear faster.
- The Associated Press