Why Does Tread Wear Matter?
Heavily worn tire treads will prevent a tire from performing as designed and can lead to unsafe driving conditions. Your tires can lose traction and may not grip the road as well in snowy, slushy or rainy conditions. Good treads can help channel water to prevent hydroplaning.
How to Check Tread Wear With the Penny Test, a Tire Tread Depth Indicator or a Tire Gauge
In general, new tires typically come with 10/32" or 11/32" tread depths, but it does depend on the tire brand. In addition, some truck, SUV and winter tires meant for snowy conditions may have deeper tread depths than other models. NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) recommends replacing tires when they reach 2/32". But if you want higher performance or more traction in snowy or rainy conditions, consult your Ford Dealer about replacing at 4/32" or earlier. It is a good idea to check tread wear once a month, at the same time you check your tire pressure.
How to Do the Penny Test
You can perform the penny test by inserting a penny with Abraham Lincoln’s head upside down and into the treads of a tire in several places. If all of Lincoln’s head is visible above the tread, your tire has only 2/32" or less tread depth left, and it is time for you to replace your tires.
How to Use a Tire Tread Depth Indicator
U.S. federal safety standards require that tire tread patterns include 2/32" tread wear indicators across their treads, in the grooves. Tires are considered to be worn out when the tread pattern has worn even with the indicator bars.