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Tire Tread Requirement for the State of West Virginia

by Denise Kelly

The condition of your tires is a significant factor in how well your car rides, and tires with insufficient tread can cause serious accidents, especially on wet roads. Luckily, you don't need to be a mechanic to keep tabs on the state of your tires.

Why it Matters

The deeper the tread is on your tires, the more friction they have against the road. This is especially important when the road is wet. Friction is needed to stop properly, to maneuver around corners and curves, and to keep from hydroplaning.

State Law

The West Virginia State Code does not specify a minimum tire tread requirement.

Other States

At the end of 2007, West Virginia was one of six states that had no tread requirement. Forty-two states required tire tread to be at least 2/32-inch deep, while two specify just 1/32 inch.

How to Check, Method A

Many tires have bars that run across their width, under the rubber. You can only see them once the tire has worn down to 2/32 of an inch. When they are visible, change your tires.

How to Check, Method B

Stick a penny into the groove of your tire, with Lincoln's head going first. If you can see the top of his head, your tread is too low and you should replace your tires.

About the Author

Denise Kelly is the copy editor for a small publisher in Paris, France. Before that she was a copy editor at daily newspapers, starting in graduate school. She has been writing professionally since 1996. She has a Master of Science in journalism and a Bachelor of Arts in political science.

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Photo Credits

  • tire texture image by João Freitas from