How to Check Your Vehicle’s Wheel Tread

Smart car owners make sure all aspects of their ride are in prime condition. This includes assuring that tire tread—where the action meets the road—isn't allowed to fall below safe standards. Consider checking the tread on tires as one way to help ease the cost of automobile insurance. Bad tires are too often accident instigators. Claims filed because a tire failed aren't excused by insurers. In fact, the insurance company might consider bald tires indicate a lack of responsibility on the part of the policyholder. Experienced motorists will pay attention to mechanical details. And if teen drivers are included in a policy, they should be reminded about a car's safety features, including tire treads.

Tire makers advise about how to assure their products remain in proper working order. Use that cautionary advice as a reliable guide regarding how to maintain tire health. Visual inspection of a tire can often identify potential problems. Tires that show uneven wear on one side need attention. The problem is likely that wheel balancing or alignment isn't what it should be. This situation can be fixed by having the tires rotated and balanced. It could be that the tires on a vehicle are substandard. That calls for a complete change of tires, because the uncertainty connected with badly made tires carries too much risk.

Checking to determine tread depth can be done in a couple of ways. This is an important piece of any car maintenance schedule. Laws across the country make it mandatory that tire manufacturers include a wear bar crossing the tread. When tire treads are worn down to the level of a wear bar, it's time to get new tires. Vehicles operating in areas that receive a lot of snow should have new tires before the wear bar level is reached. There probably won't be enough tread to combat the slippery roads winter can bring.

Measuring tire tread depth can be done with a penny. Insert the penny into a tread track, with President Lincoln's head pointing down and facing you. If Lincoln's head is completely visible, it's past time to get new tires. A tire tread depth gauge gives exact information on tread wear. This hand-held device shows numbers on a measuring stick. The higher the number, the more tire tread depth.

Any automobile insurance company will be glad to know that a policyholder pays attention to his car's various mechanical issues. That includes tires, which require periodic examinations to keep them safe to drive on. Sufficient tire tread, when teen drivers are considered, can help them avoid some of the careless mishaps that might be avoided with good stopping power.

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