Tire Safety: How to Check Tire Health

It’s easy to overlook the maintenance of your Chevrolet’s tires, but ensuring they are in good shape is important for your vehicle’s performance and your safety on the road. We recommend giving them a visual check once a month to make sure they’re within safe and legal standards so you can stay in control behind the wheel.

The best way to determine the condition of your Chevrolet’s tires is to have them inspected by one of our service professionals at CMA Chevrolet of Martinsburg, but you can also do a visual check yourself.

What determines if your tires are healthy?

Healthy tires are properly inflated to the manufacturer’s recommendation, have adequate tread, and are free of any punctures, bulges, cracks, or other damage.

So, when you inspect your Chevrolet’s tires, you’ll want to account for:

  • Tire Pressure
  • Tread Depth
  • The Overall Condition (including any damage)
  • How to check your tires' health at CMA Chevrolet of Martinsburg | Close up of three new tires side by side

    Tire Pressure

    Having properly inflated tires ensures better stability, more traction, even wear, and less possibility of a blowout for your Chevrolet. Good thing checking your tire pressure is quick and easy! All you need is a tire pressure gauge, your vehicle’s owner’s manual, and an air compressor which can be found at most gas stations.

    To start, check the owner’s manual for the manufacturer’s recommended psi. Then, unscrew the air valve cap and press your gauge to get a reading of each tire’s current psi. If your pressure is too low, then fill it using an air compressor until it matches the recommended psi.

    Remember, always check your pressure when your tires are ‘cold’ or rested at least 3 hours. If they’re hot or recently driven on, then adjust the proper pressure to 4psi above the recommended cold inflation pressure. Recheck them later when they’re cold to make sure they’re right.

    Tread Depth

    Making sure the tread is deep enough on your tires is essential for safe driving. Worn tires compromise your grip on the road, which can delay your braking time, increase the risk of hydroplaning, and put you and your passenger’s safety in jeopardy.

    Assess your tread depth with these standards:

  • Good – 5/32” or above
  • Replace Soon – 4/32”
  • Replace Now – 3/32” or less
  • It’s illegal for the tread to be less than 2/32” deep, so monitor your tread closely once it gets below 4/32” deep.

    To check your tread, simply use the Penny Test:
    Insert a penny into a tread groove with Lincoln’s head upside down. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, then your tread is less than 2/32” and your tires have to be replaced.

    Another way to check is to look at the tread wear indicator bars located in the grooves around the tire. When the bars are visibly flush with the rest of the tread, then you should replace them as soon as possible.

    How to check your tires' health at CMA Chevrolet of Martinsburg | Row of different tires with a solid black background

    Condition & Damage

    In addition to pressure and tread, solid sidewalls and a good overall condition is important for your tires’ health. Look for any irregular wear, cuts, bulges, cracks from dry rotting, or items lodged in the rubber-like nails, small stones, or thumbtacks. Any leaks should be patched by a professional.

    Keep an eye on the age of your tires because even if the tread isn’t worn, they still may start coming apart and develop problematic bulges that can affect your Chevrolet’s performance. We recommend replacing them no more than 10 years after they were manufactured.

    If something looks suspicious but you aren’t sure if it’s affecting your drive, get a service professional to take a look. Better safe than sorry!

    Contact our team at CMA Chevrolet of Martinsburg if you have any questions or need to schedule a service appointment. We hope you found this article helpful!