Is legal safe?

Concerned that my tires seem worn took the car (2001 Elantra) into Sears today, the service writer measured them all with what looks like a depth caliper.
He said the tread is still within legal limits, suggested a rotation, which we did..
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

This is all relative. In most areas the legal limit for tread wear is 2/32". At this depth, if you're driving through standing water or snow, you're going to have difficulty. In wet weather, you'll need to be careful.
If I'm going to be doing driving in snow, I want 5/32" minimum on the drive wheels. But as we don't get very much snow here, I tend to ride my tires out and deal with making alternate plans if it snows and they're worn.
Ultimately, it's up to you. Did they tell you what the measurements were?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Tue, 22 Mar 2011 14:37:43 -0700 (PDT), hyundaitech wrote:

Thanks for the input. No he did not mention and I didn't ask, isn't there some old method using a dime. I'll make a more precise measurement myself to be sure.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Irwell wrote:

Within my long life, I've sometimes had to gird my loins when dealing with tire shops. I noted that some of these guys didn't check tire pressure at all, while others didn't have accurate pressure gauges.
So, a while back, I decided to buy my own tread depth gauge. Well, not so fast: none of the chain stores had any. In my area, we still have one, and only one, _real_ car parts store. You know what I mean: the sort of place where they have good products and the guys behind the counter are seasoned and know their stuff. They have a substantial business delivering parts to independent repair shops and have branches in other cities in the region.
They didn't have a depth gauge in the shop, but they did have a few in their warehouse a few blocks away. The gauge was cheap and it hangs in my garage. It can be handy for seeing how the tire's wearing. Using a coin is good for a near-death condition, but I like having the gauge, which is well-designed and has a few different scales on it.
Richard
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Tires have wear indicators molded into the tread. If you can see them, they are no longer legal and tires should be replaced. If they are not visible, they are probably safe for normal driving. The wear indicator is a strip of rubber across the tread that is recessed in the tread and shows when the tread is worn.
If you drive in snow or carry heavy loads, that should be considered also. If the tires are the originals at 10 years old, they may be getting brittle from age. I'm not sure, but the tire makers are saying something like 4 years or so as maximum.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Tire manufacturers want to sell tires. In my opinion-- and I have no empirical backing to support this, of course-- is that they'll last much longer than four years in many cases. Some tire industry knucklehead told me it was the law that tires had to be replaced after they were five years old. My tires typically never make four years old (that'd be about 100,000 miles), but if they did, I'd judge their age-condition on the amount of cracking in the tread and sidewalls. I think that's a much better indicator than any hard-and-fast time rule.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I buy and have my tires maintained at Sears and a complicating factor is the tread warranty. Sears will prorate the tires if they wear out before they reached the stated mileage. In other words if you buy a tire rated at 65k miles and it wears out at 40k you get money back toward the purchase of a new tire. The money back part is good, however Sears considers a tire "worn out" when the wear indicators are flush with the tread, which is at or below 2/32nd" I was in this situation recently where I was feeling concerned about the minimal tread, but I had to wait longer to get them prorated. Fortunately the weather is generally dry where I am. otherwise it would have been a dubious choice to wait.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Sat, 26 Mar 2011 07:20:15 -0700, Victek wrote:

Thanks for that information. That is my dilemma too, only we are experiencing very heavy rainfalls here in North West California, maybe I will take it to the AAA office for an independant assessment.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

The wear indicators were put where they are after a lot of research and testing by tire makers and by safety people in the government. Without them, people would use tires until bald, like some of us did when teenagers. If you don't feel confident, just buy new tires.
Tread design channels the water so the tire can make contact with the road. The amount of water, the road surface, speed, and contaminants on the road, all affect how well that works. Only you can put a price on peace of mind.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Irwell wrote:

Safe for what?
For dry pavement, tires are safe until bald as long as no cords are showing anyway.
For lightly wet pavement, 2/32" is plenty.
For 1" of standing water, 1/2" of tread isn't enough.
There is no absolute standard for "safety."
I run my tires down to the wear bars and even a little beyond if I don't have an inspection coming up. I rotate and maintain my own tires (weekly or so pressure and tread checks) so I am aware at all times of the status of my tires. I adjust my driving accordingly. If it is pouring rain, I take a difference vehicle that has more tread on the tires. If dry, I drive the worn tire vehicle. If I get caught in the rain, I either wait it out or drive much more slowly being conscious of the risk of hydroplaning.
I also run tire pressures at the upper limit for the tire as this also reduces hyrdoplaning. While there is no formula for cars to predict hydroplane speed, it IS a function of tire pressure and more pressure is better as the NASA formula shows. However, this is for aircraft tires which are more alike than are car tires and runways are a more consistent surface than are roads so don't take the speed from this formula as being applicable to cars. However the RELATIONSHIP between tire pressure and onset of hydroplaning is applicable.
http://www.mountainflying.com/Pages/mountain-flying/hydroplaning.html
Matt
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Motorsforum.com is a website by car enthusiasts for car enthusiasts. It is not affiliated with any of the car or spare part manufacturers or car dealers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.