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We have exciting news! River City Tire & Automotive is now part of the GreatWater 360 Auto Care family! This means we can offer our customers even more than before; with upgrades in training, technology, and equipment that allows us to service your vehicle better, and a new 3 Year/36k Mile Nationwide Warranty. Most importantly, you’ll find the same friendly faces and top-notch service you’ve come to know and trust!

How to Monitor Tread Depth with a Penny

Tread depth is the key indicator of how to tell when you need new tires. Tires need to have enough tread to be able to grip the road safely or obtain proper traction. To stay on top of your tires, we recommend monitoring your tire tread regularly. An easy method to go about checking your tread depth is the penny test. The best part is that it takes minutes and minimal effort!

The Penny Test

When you get fresh, new tires, they typically have 10/32-11/32 of an inch of tread depth. Over time, the treads wear down. And once they get to 2/32 of an inch, it is deemed unsafe and illegal to drive. In fact, your vehicle will not pass state inspection if your treads are too worn. 


To plan for your next tire replacement, please follow the procedures of the penny test. All you need is some spare change – of course.

  • Position the penny with Lincoln’s head upside down. Place it onto the inner ridges of your car tire. 
  • Get eye-level with the tire. If the head is covered, it means your tire is still acceptable to drive. If you can see the top of his head, then your tread has been worn to 2/32 of an inch or less. In other words, you need new tires ASAP!

When your tires are overworn, they can present many safety hazards on the road. For instance, they can’t channel water as well, which increases the likelihood of hydroplaning. And things get extra dangerous when icy conditions come around. In conclusion, proper traction is key to ensuring your car rides are safe. 


We recommend testing your tire tread at least once a month or every couple of months. If you need help, our certified mechanics can assist you with your tires at your next service appointment. We welcome you to River City Tire & Automotive for all your tire needs. Feel free to give us a call or schedule an appointment online with our team today.

312 E 35th St Davenport, IA 52806 (563) 386-2700
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