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#4780970 - 06/08/18 07:34 AM AAA:Replace worn tires at 4/32nds inch tread depth
tenderloin Offline


Registered: 12/16/02
Posts: 6545
Loc: Huntington Beach, CA
AAA 4/32 Tire Replacement

RLANDO, Fla. Citing safety concerns related primarily to wet braking, AAA Inc. is recommending consumers replace their worn tires at 4/32nds inch tread depth.

Nationwide car owners' club AAA is basing its stance on the results of tests it conducted recently on new and worn tires, which showed significant increases in braking distances in wet conditions as tires wear.

"Tires are what keep a car connected to the road," John Nielsen, AAA's managing director of automotive engineering and repair, said.

"Even the most advanced safety systems rely on a tire's basic ability to maintain traction, and AAA's testing shows that wear has a significant impact on how quickly a vehicle can come to a stop in wet conditions to avoid a crash."

AAA conducted its testing in partnership with the Automobile Club of Southern California's Automotive Research Center. Those tests compared the wet braking performance of new all-season tires and those worn to a tread depth of 4/32nds inch.

According to the tests, tires worn to a tread depth of 4/32nds inch exhibit the following, compared with a new tire:

An average increased stopping distance at highway speeds of 87 feet for a passenger car and 86 feet for a light truck; and

A 33-percent reduction in handling ability, for a passenger car and 28 percent for the light truck on average.

AAA's testing involved a Toyota Camry and Ford F-150.

Tires tested on the Camry were: Nexen Classe Premiere CP671; Goodyear Eagle Sport; Fuzion Touring; Pirelli Cinturato All-Season Plus; Kumho Ecsta 4X II; and Michelin Premier A/S.

Tires tested on the Ford F-150 were: Firestone Destination LE II; Bridgestone Dueler H/L Alenza Plus (113T); Cooper Evolution H/T (115T); Michelin Defender LTX M/S (115T); Hankook Dyanpro RH12 (113T); and Goodyear Wrangler Fortitude HT (115T).

The complete results are available on AAA's website.

"AAA's testing demonstrates the impact that tire tread has on safety," Megan McKernan, manager of the Automobile Club of Southern California's Automotive Research Center, said.

"If tested side-by-side at 60 mph, vehicles with worn tires would still be traveling at an alarming 40 mph when reaching the same distance it takes for vehicles with new tires to make a complete stop."

AAA said its research found that tire performance does vary by brand, but price is not necessarily an indicator of quality. Worn tire performance deteriorated significantly for all tires tested, including those at a higher price point.

AAA advises shoppers to research options carefully before selecting a replacement tire for their vehicle, and never choose one based on price alone.

"With newer cars going longer intervals between routine maintenance at automotive service facilities, drivers may not become alerted to the fact their tires are too worn until it's too late," Mr. Nielsen said.

AAA's comprehensive evaluation of tire tread laws and regulations across U.S. states found state requirements range from inadequate to non-existent.

Forty-two states consider 2/32nds inch the minimum legal tread depth. California and Idaho have set the minimum at 1/32nd, while Arkansas, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Carolina and West Virginia have no legal mininum standards.

The AAA's recommendation is in contrast with Michelin North America Inc.'s contention that removing tires prematurely from service costs consumers billions of dollars and increases the amount of scrap tires to be dealt with.

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#4780972 - 06/08/18 07:35 AM Re: AAA:Replace worn tires at 4/32nds inch tread depth [Re: tenderloin]
tig1 Offline


Registered: 01/03/09
Posts: 13764
Loc: Illinois
Where I come from we call it 1/8.
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#4780981 - 06/08/18 07:56 AM Re: AAA:Replace worn tires at 4/32nds inch tread depth [Re: tenderloin]
supton Online   content


Registered: 11/09/08
Posts: 12344
Loc: NH
When I get to 4/32's I start thinking about replacing. Nothing new here, I thought AAA (and others?) had been pressing for this for years?

Between 2/32's and 4/32's I adjust my driving, knowing that traction might be lowered in rain. Before anyone yells at me that I should remove "unsafe" tires--a similar argument could be said to buy the car with the shortest stopping distance, and anything longer than that is putting everyone at risk. And that driving a twenty year old car is automatically unsafe simply because it's been surpassed.
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#4780989 - 06/08/18 08:00 AM Re: AAA:Replace worn tires at 4/32nds inch tread depth [Re: tenderloin]
Donald Online   content


Registered: 03/21/04
Posts: 20677
Loc: Upstate NY
I think at 4/32" one should be making their plan to get the tires replaced in the near term. And of course if a Subaru symmetric AWD then all 4 tires need replacement.
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#4780993 - 06/08/18 08:05 AM Re: AAA:Replace worn tires at 4/32nds inch tread depth [Re: tenderloin]
Astro14 Online   content


Registered: 10/10/10
Posts: 8680
Loc: Virginia Beach
I replace them at 4/32 most of the time, as that's the depth at which wet performance begins to significantly degrade.

Legal minimum and safe aren't the same thing, most of the time...
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#4780998 - 06/08/18 08:06 AM Re: AAA:Replace worn tires at 4/32nds inch tread depth [Re: tig1]
CT8 Offline


Registered: 10/09/14
Posts: 11519
Loc: Idaho
Originally Posted By: tig1
Where I come from we call it 1/8.
4/32 sounds more high tech.
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#4781005 - 06/08/18 08:14 AM Re: AAA:Replace worn tires at 4/32nds inch tread depth [Re: tenderloin]
Shannow Offline


Registered: 12/12/02
Posts: 40523
Loc: 'Stralia
Sad thing is that the tread wear bars alter (not by much, but they do) the wet weather performance of tyres.

But by defining the legal minimum, they at least give something to quantify compliance to an arbitrary definition of safety...a "go-nogo" principal that can be applied at the side of the road.

(used to be "match heads" down here..if a match head could be hidden in the tread over 75% of the tread area, they were legal).

at 275 thousandths, the Deuller H/Ts on my Colorado failed my wet weather standards...and I replaced them

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#4781008 - 06/08/18 08:18 AM Re: AAA:Replace worn tires at 4/32nds inch tread depth [Re: tenderloin]
Char Baby Offline


Registered: 05/25/05
Posts: 10203
Loc: ROCHESTER, NY
This is why I always say that half tread is actually 6/32nds.
If most passenger tires(generally) start out at 10/32nds, and are only good(by law) down to 2/32nds, then 6/32nd is our(OUR) real 1/2 tread mark. Not according to the tire industry or safety organizations but, to me. Think about it!

Others have disagreed & will continue to disagree with me.

I too start thinking about buying new tires somewhere between 5-6/32nds and depending on the season, I'll get rid of them by 3-4/32nds.
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#4781010 - 06/08/18 08:18 AM Re: AAA:Replace worn tires at 4/32nds inch tread depth [Re: tenderloin]
Sayjac Offline


Registered: 10/13/08
Posts: 12421
Loc: The Old North State
Quote:
Where I come from we call it 1/8.

If one looks a standard tire tread depth gauge, the gradations are by 32nds.

So 4/32nds basically saying the quarter test now more appropriate than the penny test.

Corresponds to display sign information now found in DT stores.

https://www.discounttire.com/learn/tire-safety


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#4781042 - 06/08/18 08:51 AM Re: AAA:Replace worn tires at 4/32nds inch tread depth [Re: tenderloin]
sasilverbullet Offline


Registered: 08/22/04
Posts: 1445
Loc: San Antonio, Texas
Nothing new, Porsche has been preaching this for 30 years. They do their own tire studies/research.
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#4781047 - 06/08/18 08:55 AM Re: AAA:Replace worn tires at 4/32nds inch tread depth [Re: tenderloin]
ARCOgraphite Online   content


Registered: 05/17/09
Posts: 12133
Loc: N.H, U.S.A.
Usually when mine are at 1/8 in the center, they are showing the belts and cord on the edge smile
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#4781061 - 06/08/18 09:12 AM Re: AAA:Replace worn tires at 4/32nds inch tread depth [Re: tenderloin]
Ducked Offline


Registered: 10/25/12
Posts: 4490
Loc: Taiwan
So if I want to maximise my bald tyre wet weather performance, I should drive a light truck, rather than a car.

Good news in the US, I'd have thought.

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#4781082 - 06/08/18 09:36 AM Re: AAA:Replace worn tires at 4/32nds inch tread depth [Re: tenderloin]
ctrcbob Offline


Registered: 01/01/06
Posts: 621
Loc: Mount Dora FL, Penfield NY, R...
I go by the wear bars. 2/32nds. Been that way for years. With the price of quality tires today, I'll continue at 2/32.
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Mount Dora FL,
Penfield NY
Roswell NM

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2015 Sonata Sport 2.0T Limited

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#4781111 - 06/08/18 10:10 AM Re: AAA:Replace worn tires at 4/32nds inch tread depth [Re: Astro14]
Richie Offline


Registered: 06/10/04
Posts: 304
Loc: Valencia, CA
I do the same.

Originally Posted By: Astro14
I replace them at 4/32 most of the time, as that's the depth at which wet performance begins to significantly degrade.

Legal minimum and safe aren't the same thing, most of the time...

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#4781176 - 06/08/18 11:02 AM Re: AAA:Replace worn tires at 4/32nds inch tread depth [Re: Richie]
69GTX Offline


Registered: 09/23/15
Posts: 3829
Loc: Connecticut
With AAA's concern over tread depth, I'm surprised they didn't also mention age and/or UV cracking. Most people can see a tire wearing. Most don't really key on cracking or age until the tire is really worn. Recommendations on retiring a tire based on age are all over the map too. Then you have the issue of good tread, no cracking, yet the tire is 6-10 yrs old...or older. What then?
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