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What Are Tire Wear Bars and What do They Do?

Tread Wear Bars or Tread Wear Indicators

Whether you are driving around Springfield, or some other area, one of the biggest safety risks is the condition of tires on the road. Tread wear indicators or tread wear bars can be a big help in determining when your tires are needing replacement. Not only are worn out, old tires a risk for failing but they also they present a risk for vehicles losing traction which can lead to trouble stopping and ultimately an accident.

This is why keeping tabs on the tread depth of your tires is so important. The legal limit in Missouri is 2/32” for the front tires and 2/32” for back tires. But how do you keep track of that, so you know when it is time to replace your tires?


What Are Tread Wear Bars?

Wear bars are raised rubber found on the grooves of your tires between the tread. The general rule of thumb is that when your tread wears down to the wear bar, it is time to replace your tires. On some larger tires, the bars run around the tire along the tread. There may actually be two on some times to run around both the inside and outside of the tire.

It is important to keep an eye on the tread bars, and look at them both on the inside (toward the wheel well) and the outside of the tire tread. Various conditions with your car can cause your tires to wear unevenly. Therefore, looking at several places around your tire is important to identify if there is work that needs to be done to keep tire wear even.

If you wait until your tread is visibly even with your wear bar, you may actually be running on bald tires or those with illegally low tread. To avoid this, consider running your fingers across the tread at the bars. If you can feel the tread is even with the bar, then it is time to replace your tires.


Checking Your Tread Depth

Aside from tread wear bars, there are a few other ways you can check the tread depth of your old tires. The next easiest way is to use a penny. You can also purchase a specialty tool called a tread depth gauge.

The penny trick is quite simple and is something everyone can do as long as they have a penny with a Lincoln bust on the head’s side. Put the penny into the groove between the tread with Lincoln’s head down. If you can see the crest of the head above the tread, then it is time to replace the tires. Lincoln’s head indicates a tread depth at or below 2/32”.

You can also use a tread depth gauge to measure the actual depth, which is available online as well as in most auto parts stores. This gauge looks a little like a pen, or even like a small pencil. It has a pin that extends past the far end that sits inside the groove of the tire. When you push the gauge down, the pin slides up, pushing out the gauge. In some cases, it is colored coded with green, yellow, and red to make it easy for anyone to easily read the results.

You can plan to check your tire tread when you check your oil. However, that will mean you are checking your tread much more frequently than is really needed. If you track your mileage, then you start tracking your tread depth when are at 75% of the expected wear on your tires. If you do a lot of hard stopping or spin your tires frequently, consider starting to check them at about 50%.


Dealing With Low Tread Depth

When you do notice your tread is wearing low, you need to plan to get your tires replaced promptly. Getting to a tire shop to get new ones installed can be a real pain. Fortunately, MTS Express offers tire service that comes to you. Our team will bring your selected tires to your home or office in Springfield, and will complete the installation so you can continue with your everyday life.


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