AKRON (July 23) — Continental A.G and Internet/mail order retailer Tire Rack are recommending motorists replace their vehicle´s tires before they reach the legal minimum tread depth of 2/32 inch.
Continental is recommending drivers change their tires once the tread depth reaches 3 millimeters, rather than the 1.6 mm that is considered the norm, because of heightened aquaplaning danger.
In making the recommendation on its Web site, Conti said tires can aquaplane at speeds of only 30 mph or so at the accepted minimum tread depth of 1.6 mm.
South Bend, Ind.-based Tire Rack is recommending customers start measuring minimum tread depth with a quarter instead of a penny, effectively doubling that depth to 4/32 inch in order to improve safety.
John Rastetter, director of tire information at Tire Rack, said he knows these changes won´t happen overnight and encourages drivers to pay more attention to their tires now.
"The penny test was an indirect result of tire warranties," Rastetter said. "It is to that depth that most warranties remain valid, encouraging drivers to drive longer on tires that don´t provide enough wet-weather traction."
Tire Rack made its recommendation after conducting testing.