Tread depth in the US is measured in thirty-seconds of an inch. Most new car tires start with 10/32″ to 11/32″ of tread, and are considered worn out when they are down to 2/32″. The classic “Penny Test” can easily tell you when your tire is worn. If you put a penny into the tire tread with Lincoln’s head pointing in, and you can see the top of his head, it’s time to replace the tire.
Knowledge is power
Here’s how you can use all this info to save money. Which Tire is a better deal… a 320AA tire for $50, or a 540AA for $75? All other things being equal, the best tire is the one that gives you the most miles per dollar. The “A”s in “320AA” and “540AA” are the ratings for traction and temperature, but we’ll drop the letters and just deal with the treadwear numbers. If you divide the cost of the tire by the treadwear number, you’ll get a ratio of the cost to the life of the tire. In this example;
$50.00 (cost) divided by 320 (treadwear) = .16 cents per unit
$75.00 (cost) divided by 540 (treadwear) = .14 cents per unit
The 540AA costs less per mile and would be the better buy provided you need longer lasting tires, care for the tires, keep them rotated and aired up properly. Now go save money!
Your individual needs, use, and even how long you plan to own the vehicle all play into the decision of which tires are the best for you. For example if you need tires but are planning on selling the car soon, you probably shouldn’t spend the money for the best tires available. In that case, a cheaper (200 or 220 treadwear number) would be more appropriate. When you’re entering the tire market, knowledge is power. Remember to stop by the shop, and we’ll give you all the power you need to make the best decision.