Very soon, much of the nation will be in the icy grip of Old Man Winter, a season that promises to supply us with plenty of cold air, ice and snow. If we are fortunate enough, we will have a rather tame few months, with warmer air keeping the worst of the season’s fury at bay.
Regardless of just how this winter turns out, your car should be ready to withstand the worst of nature’s wrath. Your tires, which play a significant role in keeping your car on the road and moving, need to be ready for the months ahead. Not surprising, many drivers just do not check their tires often enough, putting themselves, their passengers and other motorists at risk.
Inspect Your Tires Monthly
You have heard the recommendation before: check your tires at least once a month to find out if they have enough air and are safe to drive on. Regular check-ups can help you determine if your tires need to be serviced or replaced. Most flats can be handled and repaired, but if you have a blowout or most of the tread is gone, then you need new tires.
Worn tires are a hazard, a potential safety problem that can cause an accident, injuring or even killing you. Most states regulate tire wear as a tire with not enough tread depth is prone to skidding, a common enough event during the winter months.
(See Also — 7 Winter Driving Safety Tips)
The Abe Lincoln Test
One way that drivers can determine if their tires are worn and in need of replacement is to invite Abe Lincoln to a test. Specifically, a Lincoln penny placed in the shallow tread groove with his head down, an effort that will reveal whether there is enough tread left or not.
If the top of Lincoln’s head remains visible, then the tire doesn’t have enough tread and should be replaced. Check out our tips on buying new tires for your car.
The Wear Bar Test
Another way to check for wear is to look for those narrow bands that appear inside the grooves crossing the tire’s tread. Wear bars are not seen until the tires have been worn down (hence its name). When the wear bars appear, your tires should be replaced.
Of course, if you are not sure if your tires need replacing or would prefer that someone else take a look for you, most tire stores offer a free brake inspection and check your tires too. Be safe this winter and put “tire checking” on your list of safety items to inspect on a regular basis.
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