Free car Hacks?

Updated: Apr 8

Who doesn’t like Free, or almost free, easy car hacks for safety and comfort?

Inflation and gas prices are taking the enjoyment out of hitting the road just for fun, so here are a few ideas that will make it safer and more enjoyable with just a quarter, a rubber band and a dryer sheet.

The Tire Tread test

The old trick was to use a penny to gauge your tread depth. But here is why a quarter is better than a penny. Who knew?

The penny test will tell you when your tires are smooth. But you can also try the alternative quarter tire test to check the tire depth before your tire reaches its breaking point.

The penny tread test is straightforward and is based on a regularly used tire tread measurement to diagnose worn tires. Tire treads should be at least 2/32nds of an inch deep in excellent driving conditions, according to conventional belief. 2/32nds is also the distance between the top of President Lincoln’s head and the edge of a US cent.

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So, before you hop on the Autobahn be sure you try this easy tire tread safety tip. Let's take a quick side trip. Here is the same info for our European Union friends.

The legal minimum tread depth in Europe is 1.6mm across the central three-quarters of the tread width and round its entire circumference.

If your car has worn tyres and you are stopped by a Garda, you can get a fixed charge notice of €80 and up to four penalty points if the matter goes to court. Not to mention the serious implications for your (and others’) safety.

So, to stay safe and on the right side of the law, here’s how to check the tread depth on your car’s tyres.

Try this quick and easy hack: you simply use a €1 (One Euro) coin to measure tread depth. Simply place the coin into the tyre grooves. If you can see the gold rim it means your tread depth is less than 3mm and you should consider replacing your tyres.

After returning home:

We can now try using the Quarter Tire Test

To start, park your car on a flat even surface in a secure spot, turn off the ignition and engage the handbrake.

The penny tread test has long been used to easily measure tire tread and assess the condition of your tires, but here is why the quarter test has emerged as a more accurate alternative.

This test is carried out in the same manner as a penny. The difference in this test is that the top of President Washington’s head on the quarter coin is roughly 4/32nds of an inch from the coin’s edge—double the distance of a penny.

To compare the height of the treads to the head of President Washington on the US quarter, push the edge of a quarter into the tire tread.

Drivers may inspect their tread and find depths that are less than 4/32nds of an inch, indicating that a tire replacement is needed soon.

Even if the tread depth goes below 4/32nds of an inch, tires still provide a reasonable amount of safety and reliability, which means you aren’t in urgent danger of damaging your car on worn tires.