Most people probably don't remember the last time they checked the tread on their tires, if they've even done it at all. The common method involves holding a penny or a quarter in the groove and checking whether you can see a president's head – it's not exactly precise, and it's also really easy to forget to do it regularly. Because we're forgetful, Finnish tiremaker Nokian has a new tool to make checking tread life as easy as doing basically nothing.

Nokian Tyre and some partners have developed a way for drivers to check tread depth without even getting out of their cars. In fact, the tires are scanned without the driver even knowing it's happening. The device, called SnapSkan, is meant to be placed somewhere people line up in their cars – at a car wash, a service station, even a drive-thru – and then they just drive over it. It looks sort of like a grocery store scanner mounted on the ground, but those red lines are using 3D imaging to measure the tires, not scan UPCs. There's also a camera to scan the license plate and figure out what kind of car its attached to (in countries where that info is centrally available) and then the driver can get a report on their tires' remaining life through a text message or an email.

This would be particularly useful in the winter, when you really don't want to be outside holding spare change and getting all gross with slush. The system is being installed in Finland initially (where they definitely have winter), with the first being put to use at the entrance of an underground parking garage, and Nokian says it plans to branch out to other countries in the coming years.

At least in America, we line up in drive-thrus a lot more often than we think about tire wear, which is unfortunate because inadequate tread depth is a serious safety issue and can lead to accidents. Until the government mandates built-in tread scanners on new cars like it does tire-pressure monitors (we're half-kidding), this seems like a great way to keep people informed about their tires.

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