The early snowfall this season caused many drivers to think about the condition of their tires sooner than they might normally. Drivers who use dedicated winter / snow tires should check the tread depth of their tires every year. Simply because a tire "looks like it has good tread" doesn't mean that the tire is suitable for driving safely in wintry conditions. The more tread depth the tires have, the more effective they will be in loose snow and slush.
Tires need adequate tread depth so they can bite into the snow. Most winter tires start at 10/32" to 12/32" of tread depth. 6/32" is the minimum tread depth that we recommend for winter driving. It's important to do more than just a quick visual check of your tires' tread depth. While a tread depth gauge is preferred, you can also use U.S. coins by using this method.
If you find that your current snow tires have less than 6/32" of tread depth, they're ready to be replaced. For those in this situation, check out a few of our top winter tires.
For more information on properly checking your tires' tread depth, read "What Honest Abe Doesn't Tell You About Minimum Tread Depths."