How do I know I need new tires?

At Dugger’s Emergency Road Service, we can help you fix a flat tire on the side of the road. You need to know when your tires need to be replaced. The federal government doesn’t currently have any laws for tread depth, but 42 of the states, and all of Canada, do have regulations. They consider 2/32 of an inch to be the minimum legal tread depth. We used to use a penny for the depth test on your tire, but now for a better safety standard, that same test is now done with a quarter.


Consider this: Consumer Reports recommends tire replacement when tread reaches 4/32 inch/3.2 mm. And the recommendation is backed by some very compelling studies. Now before we go into the studies, you need to know that the issue is braking on wet surfaces. We tend to think of the brakes doing all the stopping, but Albuquerque vehicles also need to have effective tires to actually stop the car. When it’s wet or snowy in Albuquerque, NM, the tread of the tire is critical to the stopping power of your vehicle.

Partially worn tires – at the depth recommended by Consumer Reports – the car was still going at 45 mph/72 kph at the point where new tires brought the car to a halt. The tests were conducted with the same vehicles but with different sets of tires. The brakes were the same, so the only variable was the tires.

How can people in Albuquerque tell when their tires are at 4/32 inch/3.2 mm? Just insert an American quarter into the tread. Put it in upside down. If the tread doesn’t cover George Washington’s hairline, it’s time to replace your tires.


Now you may remember doing that with pennies. But an American penny gives you 2/32 inch/1.6 mm to Abraham Lincoln’s head. The quarter is the new standard – 4/32 inch/3.2 mm.

Tires are a big ticket item, and most people in Albuquerque, NM, want to get thousands of miles/kilometers out of them. Just remember: driving on bald tires is like playing roulette. If you lose and end up with a flat tire, call Dugger’s Emergency Road Service. Dugger’s provides tire changes and other emergency roadside assistance services.