Buried deep in a press release from Tire Rack is a bombshell. No longer is the Lincoln-head penny the true test for replacing your tires. It will now be known as the Washington-head quarter test.
For as long as we can remember, we were taught that when you could see the top of Lincoln's head on a penny stuck in your tire tread, it was time for new rubber. That's about 2/32 of an inch. Tire Rack did some tests, with an eye-opening video, on what the difference is between a new tire (10/32 of an inch), a worn tire (4/32) and a completely worn-out tire (2/32).
The control car stopped at 195.2 feet with new tires in the rain. The next test used the same car, but the treads were worn to 4/32 of an inch, about the distance between the top of a quarter and Washington's head. That car took an additional 95 feet to stop on the slick track.
At 2/32 of an inch of tread (the Lincoln-penny test), the car skidded to a stop at a lengthy 378.8 feet, almost 90 feet more than the Washington-penny tires and 183.6 feet farther than new tires. Maybe more importantly, the last car was still traveling at 44 mph when the Washington-penny test car stopped.
We're all for car control here at AutoWeek. Now, if Dutch will let us borrow a quarter, we'll be off to check the fleet.
Watch the video here.
Must-See on MSN
I'm not saying I don't believe the results, but I would like to see the tests performed by a company that doesn't sell tires.Point taken. Do you think maybe someone over at the DOT might want to perform independent tests so consumers can have some "unbiased" guidance?
I also agree that the tests need to be independent of a tire manufacturer. It's also possible that certain tires were used that are not representative. I had a vette with wide tires that a bit of snow pretty much kept travel at 20 miles an hour with Volkswagens zipping by with their skinny tires. Not saying the tests were skewed, but independent testing is a must before I jump.
Mandatory Inspections in Virginia pretty much force the negligent, the ignorant, and the skeptical into getting new tires. At least we are all safer but at a cost.
There are those who drive around the neighborhood and never get above 35 miles an hour if that high. I wouldn't be so concerned with tire tread for those drivers.
The tires are so expensive these days-- but in the olden days, the small farmer could use the old tires on wagons etc that were restricted to farming. For me the inspections are important else I would drive until the tires are bald or I actually feel the difference. Unfortunately, too many people like me out there. Check your tires.