12 Car-Prep Tips for Winter Driving — Is Your Ride Ready?

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Tread Depth
Looking at the outside of a tire, the focus should be on tread depth. The AAA recommends replacing a tire once it wears down to the point where the tread groove depth reaches 3/32 of an inch or less. The old method of seeing how worn a tire had become was via the “penny test” — stick a penny headfirst into the tread groove; if you could see the top of Abe Lincoln’s head, the tire was at 2/32 of an inch — already well below the acceptable depth. The modern “quarter test” follows the same premise, but the coin and president are different. Insert a quarter heads down into the tire groove. If you cannot see the top of Washington’s head you have at least 4/32 of tread depth left, so the tire is still good to go. If you can see the top of George’s head, you should start shopping for new tires. Perform the quarter test on the inside, middle, and outside of each tire. If one measurement comes up short, it’s tire replacement time.

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