We rely on our tires to get us safely to our destinations in and around the Denver, CO area. Tires provide the grip we need to stay in control on the road – an important safety feature! The traction between your tires and the road comes from the tread thickness and design of your tires. With winter weather already arriving intermittently, it’s important to know when to replace your tires.
Tread Design Background
Did you know that tire tread designs aren’t actually required for driving on dry roads? In fact, your tires will provide all the traction you need without them. Of course, the reality is that we don’t drive on dry roads all the time.
When roads are wet from rain or slushy from snow, tire treads are designed to channel the liquids away from the space between your tires and the road. The factors of tread design and depth, vehicle speed and weight combine to determine how fast a vehicle can come to a stop in wet weather.
Most tires for consumer vehicles begin with about 9/32” tread depth. The grooves in the tires have the most volume at this point for channeling away rainwater and slushy snow. As the tires age, the tread wears away, and the volume of the grooves decreases. Legally, tires must maintain a tread depth above the minimum of 2/32”.
When the tires reach a certain point, you may notice the car hydroplane in the rain or slip in the snow. Your vehicle may take a longer distance to stop than it used to. These are indications that your tread depth has reached an unsafe thickness. Generally, you should replace your tires when the tread depth dips below 4/32”.
For driving around the Front Range and into the mountains for winter recreation, you will want to replace your tires sooner, at around 5/32” of remaining tread. The deeper tread helps to compress snow in the grooves to maintain traction and mobility on the road.
Good tires are essential to safe driving in wet or wintery weather. Replacing your tires before it’s legally required may cost you more money, but will greatly improve your ability to stop safely in an emergency.
Come see Accountable Auto Care and we will check your tires to make sure they are safe for winter weather driving