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Old 07-23-2007, 02:32 PM   #1
AVANTI R5
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Default New Tire Tests Show The Quarter Is The New Penny

New Tire Tests Show The Quarter Is The New Penny




SOUTH BEND, Ind., JULY 23 /PRNewswire/ -- Quarters are safer than pennies when it comes to checking your tires, according to new tests conducted by The Tire Rack, the country's largest independent tire tester. With much of the summer travel season remaining and a change of season looming, now is especially important for drivers to be aware of their tires' condition.


For decades the tire industry has taught drivers to use the so-called Penny Test as a simple way to tell when tires were worn out. But experts at The Tire Rack say that popular lesson is outdated, compromises safety, and should give way to the Quarter Test.

In the old Penny Test, seeing the top of Lincoln's head while holding a penny upside down in a tire tread groove indicated a tread depth of 2/32-inch (1.6mm) or less, and that the tire needed replacing. Instructions on how to properly check tire tread depth can be found at www.tirerack.com/treaddepth

In driving tests conducted by The Tire Rack, a late-model pickup truck riding on tires that passed the Penny Test -- legal in most states -- averaged 499.5 feet to stop from 70 miles per hour on wet pavement. That's equal to about 12.5 school busses, or nearly a tenth of a mile.

However, the same vehicle riding on tires that passed Tire Rack's proposed Quarter Test stopped almost 122 feet (24%) shorter. These tires had treads measuring 4/32-inch (3.2mm) deep, as measured from the edge of a quarter to the top of Washington's head. Not only were braking distances significantly reduced, overall grip noticeably improved. Dramatic footage comparing Penny- and Quarter-Tested tires is available online at www.tirerack.com/baldtiredangers

"The Penny Test was an indirect result of tire warranties," explained John Rastetter, director of tire information at The Tire Rack. "It is to that depth (2/32") that most warranties remain valid, encouraging drivers to drive longer on tires that don't provide enough wet-weather traction." Tire Rack tests showed that doubling the tread depth at which warranties are voided will improve safety by cutting braking distances and improving traction in the wet. "We know these changes won't happen overnight so we're encouraging drivers to pay more attention to their tires now," he said.

Wet/Snowy roads + Worn tires = A real problem

In 2005 584,000 car crashes occurred in the rain, causing 169,000 injuries and 2,914 fatalities, according to the most current data from the National Traffic Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA). Another 264,000 crashes occurred in snow and sleet, accounting for another 53,773 injuries and deaths.

Rastetter and his team feel many of these incidents were likely related to worn tires since NHTSA data also show some 20 million vehicles have at least one bald tire. In addition, less than one in three (31%) drivers doesn't know how to tell if their tires are bald, according to the Rubber Manufacturers Association, a tire industry trade group. A bald tire is one with less than 2/32-inch of tread depth.

Tire companies spend millions of dollars developing tread patterns that channel water away from under a rolling tire. This channeling allows the tire to stay in contact with road surfaces, especially at highway speeds.

As tires wear, their ability to displace water and grip snow is diminished, increasing the chance of hydroplaning. Hydroplaning occurs when tires are forced up off the pavement by water trapped under the tire. The result is a complete loss of traction that leaves drivers helpless to control their vehicles. By the time a tire is near the end of its service life it can displace a tiny fraction of the water, and grip little of the snow, it could when new.

"Riding on worn or bald tires in rain and snow is like trying to ice skate in dress shoes," said Rastetter, "you're going to lose control."

About The Tire Rack

Founded in 1979, the family-owned Tire Rack has become America's largest independent tire tester and consumer direct source for tires, wheels and performance accessories. A team of more than 80 test drivers test tires from every major tire manufacturer on a state-of-the-art, 10-acre test facility at the company's headquarters in South Bend, Indiana.
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Old 07-23-2007, 02:35 PM   #2
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Why not look at the wear indicators (bar) on the tire??? I thought that is what it is for??
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Old 07-23-2007, 02:53 PM   #3
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By the time you are down to the wear bars your tires are definitely unsafe. I agree with Tire Rack; 4/32 is a much safer limit.
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Old 07-23-2007, 07:49 PM   #4
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Hmmm. A company that sells tires wants everyone to replace their tires quicker with new ones...

Of course, in wet conditions, more tread depth will be safer during emergency manuevers. If you drive aggressively, tailgate, or drive in snowy winter conditions than you need to be smart and make sure your tires are in better shape than most people.
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Old 07-23-2007, 10:42 PM   #5
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^^Well, yes, they have an agenda but the results still speak for themselves. Even people who drive defensively/conservatively can get into trouble if they have to hit the brakes in the rain and start hydroplaning.
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Old 07-23-2007, 10:50 PM   #6
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True. And 6/32 of an inch is even safer than 4/32. And 8/32 safer than that. And brand new Michelin Pilot Sports even safer than that. So we should tell everyone to drive brand new Michelin Pilot Sports or they're putting themselves and others in danger.

You have to draw the line somewhere. That line should vary from individual to individual based on driving style, tire brand & make, and road conditions where they live.

I'm not going to throw out the penny test just because a tire retailer says I should.
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Old 07-24-2007, 03:39 AM   #7
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kindof steering this convo to another place BUT

how long should tires last? (miles)
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Old 07-24-2007, 07:04 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imprezaowner27 View Post
kindof steering this convo to another place BUT

how long should tires last? (miles)
That depends on:
  • diameter
  • width
  • speed traveled
  • tire compound type
  • sidewall construction
  • driving surface
  • temperature
  • inflation
  • the driver

and the question belongs in:
NASIOC Technical > Tire & Wheel forum
[/thread hijack]
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Old 07-24-2007, 12:44 PM   #9
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which reminds me that i need to perform this test on my tires -- i have a feeling they will fail.
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Old 07-24-2007, 12:52 PM   #10
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This new method is too expensive. I'm sticking with the penny.
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Old 07-24-2007, 03:01 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by conker69 View Post
Why not look at the wear indicators (bar) on the tire??? I thought that is what it is for??
Wear bar is 2/32nds, unless I am mistaken. The point is that it is not enough and it should be twice as much tread left.

Krzys
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Old 07-24-2007, 03:48 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Superglue WRX View Post
This new method is too expensive. I'm sticking with the penny.
And the Goverment says there is no inflation!
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Old 07-24-2007, 04:02 PM   #13
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Every set of tires I've owned has gotten ridiculously noisy before they've really worn out anyway, I usually replace them out of irritation instead of wear.
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Old 07-24-2007, 04:10 PM   #14
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^^^ Yep and you would think it would be quieter with out the tread(slicks).
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Old 07-24-2007, 08:12 PM   #15
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