When Should I Replace My Tires?

While it is simple to place a Lincoln penny in the tread groove of a worn tire and use Abe's likeness as a guide, the Lincoln penny tread depth test has been touted for years to be a suitable method of determining when it's time to get new tires. It's based on the premise you're driving on legal tread depths anytime the top of Lincoln's head is obscured by the tread and that a tire's ability to grip the road isn't greatly reduced in adverse conditions (rain, slush and snow) until the tread wears to about 2/32" of remaining depth. It then maintains you're ready for new tires at 2/32" and can see the penny above Lincoln's head. Is it really as simple as that? No. Read on.
A driver's ability to control their vehicle depends on the traction between their tires and the road. Tires don't require tread designs or even much tread depth to deliver traction on dry roads. A practical example of this is the racing slicks used on stock race cars and open-wheel racers that provide traction at over 200 mph. However, tires do require tread designs to generate traction on wet, slushy and snow-covered roads. Liquids can't be compressed and require time and energy to move them out of the way as our tires drive through them. Those same racing slicks would lose traction at amazingly slow speeds anytime something prevented them from maintaining contact with the road.

So a tread design is necessary to direct water and slush from between the tire and the road, as well as provide edges that bite into snow. But that's only half the equation; because we've seen that tread depth also contributes to how well the design does its job.

The air our tires encounter at highway speeds can easily be compressed and moved out of the way with relative ease. However the same isn't true of liquids. When water collects on the road surface during rainstorms, the water depth, vehicle speed and vehicle weight, as well as the tires' tread designs and tread depths collectively determine when and if the tires will be forced to hydroplane and how quickly they can stop a vehicle.

A typical passenger car tire has about twenty square inches of total footprint surface and begins with about 1/3" of tread depth. While the majority of the footprint surface is made up of the rubber that grips the road, the remainder is the void of the grooves that make up the tread design.

Obviously the tread will wear away over the life of the tire and the volume of its tread grooves will be reduced. While this occurs so slowly that it may not be noticed day-to-day, ultimately there will be a time when the driver will notice the car slip in the snow, hydroplane in the rain or simply not stop in as short a distance on wet roads.

In order to confirm how much wet traction worn tires sacrifice, Goodyear measured the stopping distances from 70 mph (the typical speed limit of U.S. Interstate highways) with vehicles equipped with sets of new tires and compared them to tires with about 4/32" (3mm) of remaining tread depth, followed by sets with the legal minimum of 2/32" (1.6mm) depth. The differences surprised us! Vehicles equipped with the 2/32" minimum tire tread depth took about 100 more feet to stop and were still traveling at about 45 mph at the same distance the vehicles equipped with the 4/32" deep tires had already come to a complete stop!
(Mouse over image to see worn tire)

Tire Tread Depth Gauge
Tire Tread Depth Gauge

Our advice is that if rain and wet roads are a concern, you should consider replacing your tires when they reach approximately 4/32" of remaining tread depth. Since water can't be compressed, you need enough tread depth to allow the rain to escape through the tire's grooves. If the water can't escape fast enough, your vehicle's tires will be forced to hydroplane (float) on top of the water, losing traction and increasing stopping distances.

Additionally, if snow-covered roads are a concern, you should consider replacing your tires when they reach approximately 6/32" of remaining tread depth to maintain good mobility. You need more tread depth in snow because your tires need to compress the snow in their grooves and release it as they roll. If there isn't sufficient tread depth, the "bites" of snow your tires can take on each revolution will be reduced to "nibbles," and your vehicle's traction and mobility will be sacrificed.

While replacing your tires before they are legally worn out may not appear the most economical practice, it is far less expensive than repairing your car if it can't stop in an emergency situation in less distance than the vehicle ahead of you!
Air Pressure In Tires?

Nebraskaland, Kansasland and Coloradoland Tire has provided motorists in Nebraska, Kansas, Colorado and Oklahoma with tires and comprehensive auto repair services that include Car Care Services, Brake Repair, General Services, Undercar Services, Heating and Cooling Services, Radiator Flush & Repair, Transmission Services, Tune-Ups, Belts & Hoses Replaced, Exhaust Repair, Oil Change, Lube & Filter, Tire Repair & Rotation, Wheel Balance & Alignment. Our goal is to offer the best auto repair services, new car tires and truck tires available at the most affordable prices to get you back on the road fast. Ask about an Interstate Battery for your vehicle. We carry new tires. We carry Goodyear Tires, Mastercraft Tires, Dunlop Tires, Titan Tires, Kelly Tires, Alliance Tires. We have the largest stock of new tires. Whether you need 1 tire or all 4 tires, we have locations all across Nebraska, Kansas, the Denver area, Lamar Colorado and Guymon Oklahoma. Buy your new tires at our store!
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Buy Tires at any of our locations - Kansasland Tire, Nebraskaland Tire, Coloradoland Tire & Service and Guymon Tire
KANSAS
Wichita
Kansasland Tire - Wichita, Kansas
Wholesale/Operations & Finance
2904 S. Spruce
Wichita, KS 67216

Phone: (316) 522-5434
Fax: (316) 522-5475
Wichita
Kansasland Tire - Wichita, Kansas
1452 N. Maize Rd.
Wichita, KS 67212

Phone: (316) 773-9595
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Wichita
Kansasland Tire - Wichita, Kansas
3167 N. Rock Rd
Wichita, KS 67226

Phone: (316) 634-1444
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Wichita
Kansasland Tire - Wichita, Kansas
2015 W. 21st St.
Wichita, KS 67203

Phone: (316) 838-0807
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Andover
Kansasland Tire - Andover, Kansas
664 S. Andover Rd.
Andover, KS 67002

Phone: (316) 733-1254
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Concordia
Kansasland Tire - Concordia, Kansas
1721 Lincoln
Concordia, KS 66901

Phone: (785) 243-2706
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Derby
Kansasland Tire - Derby, Kansas
130 E. Madison
Derby, KS 67037

Phone: (316) 788-3647
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Emporia
Kansasland Tire - Emporia, Kansas
611 Prairie Street
Emporia, KS 66801

Phone: (620) 343-8473
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Fredonia
Kansasland Tire - Fredonia, Kansas
1526 N 2nd St
Fredonia, KS 66736

Phone: (620) 378-4528
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Garden City
Kansasland Tire - Garden City, Kansas
1702 E. Fulton
Garden City, KS 67846

Phone: (620) 276-2323
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Goodland
Kansasland Tire - Goodland, Kansas
1402 Main
Goodland, KS 67735

Phone: (785) 899-3689
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Great Bend
Kansasland Tire - Great Bend, Kansas
1820 N. Main St.
Great Bend, KS 67530

Phone: (620) 793-5477
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Hays
Kansasland Tire - Hays, Kansas
730 E. 8th St.
Hays, KS 67601

Phone: (785) 628-1071
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Hutchinson
Kansasland Tire - Hutchinson, Kansas
29 W. Sherman
Hutchinson, KS 67501

Phone: (620) 663-3381
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Liberal
Kansasland Tire - Liberal, Kansas
837 S. Kansas Avenue
Liberal, KS 67901

Phone: (620) 624-4823
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Norton
Kansasland Tire - Norton, Kansas
11101 Road E1
Norton, KS 67654

Phone: (785) 877-5181
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Park City
Kansasland Tire - Pittsburg, Kansas
5941 N Air Cap Drive
Park City, KS 67219

Phone: (620) 231-7210
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Pittsburg
Kansasland Tire - Pittsburg, Kansas
901 N Broadway
Pittsburg, KS 66762

Phone: (620) 231-7210
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Salina
Kansasland Tire - Salina, Kansas
684 S. Broadway Blvd
Salina, KS 67401

Phone: (785) 825-8724
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Topeka
Kansasland Tire - Topeka, Kansas
2820 NW 25th St.
Topeka, KS 66618

Phone: (785) 232-4400
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Topeka
Kansasland Tire - Topeka, Kansas
300 SW 6th Ave
Topeka, Kansas 66603

Phone: (785) 233-4156
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Topeka
Kansasland Tire - Topeka, Kansas
2855 SW Wanamaker Rd
Topeka, Kansas 66614

Phone: (785) 271-1122
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Topeka
Kansasland Tire - Topeka, Kansas
1700 SW Westport Dr
Topeka, Kansas 66604

Phone: (785) 271-0123
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NEBRASKA
Chadron
Nebraskaland Tire - Chadron, Nebraska
231 W. 2nd Street
Chadron, NE 69337

Phone: (308 )432-4488
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Holdrege
Nebraskaland Tire - Chadron, Nebraska
1105 Burlington Street
Holdrege, NE 68949

Phone: (308) 995-6188
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Lexington
Nebraskaland Tire - Lexington, Nebraska
Commercial Tire Center
HWY 283 & HWY I-80
Lexington, NE 68850

Phone: (308) 324-6374
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Lexington
Nebraskaland Tire - Lexington, Nebraska
511 Plum Creek Pkwy
Lexington, NE 68850

Phone: (308) 324-4604
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North Platte
Nebraskaland Tire - North Platte, Nebraska
1100 S. Dewey
North Platte, NE 69101

Phone: (308) 532-1100
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Omaha
Nebraskaland Tire - Lexington, Nebraska
Commercial Tire Center
7880 F Street
Omaha, NE 68127

Phone: (308) 324-6374
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Scottsbluff
Nebraskaland Tire - Scottsbluff, Nebraska
709 Broadway
Scottsbluff, NE 69361

Phone: (308) 632-7731
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Sidney
Nebraskaland Tire - Sidney, Nebraska
238 Illinois Street
Sidney, NE 69162

Phone: (308) 254-5125
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COLORADO
Arvada
Coloradoland Tire and Service
5210 West 78th Place
Arvada, CO 80003

Phone: (303) 427-1177
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Castle Rock
Coloradoland Tire and Service - Castle Rock, Colorado
4978 Front Street
Castle Rock, CO 80104

Phone: (720) 733-1199
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Denver TechCtr
Coloradoland Tire and Service - Denver, Colorado
8000 E. Quincy Avenue
Denver, CO 80237

Phone: (303) 694-2585
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Denver
Coloradoland Tire and Service - Denver, Colorado
6995 N Broadway
Denver, CO 80221

Phone: (303) 426-7947
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Denver
Coloradoland Tire and Service - Denver, Colorado
887 S Broadway
Denver, CO 80209

Phone: (303) 733-5100
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Lakewood
Coloradoland Tire and Service - Denver, Colorado
11196 W Colfax Avenue
Lakewood, CO 80215

Phone: (303) 238-7595
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Littleton
Coloradoland Tire and Service - Denver, Colorado
12672 West Ken Caryl Ave
Littleton, CO 80127

Phone: (303) 973-3828
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Littleton
Coloradoland Tire and Service - Littleton, Colorado
199 W Littleton Blvd
Littleton, CO 80120

Phone: (303) 798-8618
Tire Sales & Tire Repair Only
  Burlington
Coloradoland Tire and Service - Burlington, Colorado
47200 W. Hwy 24
Burlington, CO 80807
Burlington phone number
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Lamar
Coloradoland Tire and Service
105 S. 4th St.
Lamar, CO 81052

Phone: (719) 336-9075
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OKLAHOMA
    Guymon
Guymon Tire and Auto
Guymon Tire and Auto
1018 Highway 54 NE
Guymon, OK 73942

Phone: (580) 338-2516
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