penny check

How to Check for Tire Wear

You rotate your tires, you pay attention to potholes, and you care about your car—so how do you know when those tires need to be replaced? We have an easy way for you to make sure that your tires are road safe.

How to Do the Penny Test on Tires

If you’re worried about your tires (or just planning on taking good care of them), you may have heard of the penny test. This test is simple, easy, and can tell you with ease when it’s time to start tire shopping. Here’s how it works:
First things first, you’ll need a penny. Since in the US tread depth is measured in 32nds of an inch, so you need a tool that can show you tiny measurements in by familiar standards. Once you’ve got that coin in your hand, follow these steps.

  1. With Lincoln facing you, put the penny head-down between the ribs (raised portions) of your tire.
  2. Check the wear on the tire. If the tread is above the hair on Lincoln’s forehead, you’re set.
  3. If the wear is at his hairline, you’ll need new tires soon. If the tread is at the top of his hair, it’s time for a new set of tires.
marked tire
Father and son

Related: What Routine Maintenance Does My Car Need?


Remember, not all of your tires wear down at the same rate or even in the same places, so be sure to check all of your tires. The front tires’ outer edges will wear much faster than the rear tires, so there’s a good chance that you’ll need to replace those sooner than the others. Don’t forget, rotating your tires regularly will help them last as long as possible and save you money in the long run.
Looking for more maintenance tips? Check back with our blog for more DIYs, tips, and tricks. Lexington Toyota is here to help you keep your car running, and to show you our inventory if it’s time for an upgrade.