How to Measure Tire Tread Depth

Checking Tire Tread_189773810

Your tires play a vital role in the performance and safety of your vehicle, so learning how to measure tire tread depth is an important part of car ownership. And luckily, it’s remarkably simple to do. In fact, you can measure your tire tread with just a common penny! In this guide, we’ll go through several methods of how to check tire tread properly, so you can enjoy traveling with total peace of mind.



Why Check Tire Tread Depth?

So, why should you learn how to check tire tread at all? Tire tread helps you grip the roads as you drive through East Wenatchee and Levanworth. Over time, the tread wears away – which reduces your traction and your control. When your tire tread gets too low, your performance and safety are compromised. That means it’s time to get a new set.

What is the Recommended Tire Tread Depth? 

A fresh set of tires has a tread depth around 10/32 or 11/32 of an inch (about a third of an inch). Some tires, like off-road tires and winter tires, may have slightly more. The U.S. Department of Transportation recommends replacing your tires when the tread measures 2/32 of an inch. If you keep track of your tire tread, you can make sure that you get a replacement in a timely manner.

Tire Tread Penny Test

One of the most popular ways to check your tread level is the tire tread penny test. The markings on the face of a standard U.S. penny are perfect for checking your remaining tread, and it just takes seconds to do. Grab a penny and get started:

  1. Flip the penny so the crown of Lincoln’s head is facing down.
  2. Insert the penny into the tire tread groove until the penny reaches the very bottom.
  3. If Lincoln’s head is partially covered inside the tread groove, you have sufficient tread.
  4. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head, your tire treads are 2/32 inches deep or less and it’s time to schedule a replacement set.
  5. Repeat this process on all four tires and in multiple locations on each tire.

What Are Other Ways to Check Your Tire Tread Depth?

While many Wenatchee, WA drivers prefer the convenience of the tire tread penny test, there are several methods you can use to accurately determine your tire tread depth. 

  • Tire Tread Gauge: If you want to take more specific measurements, a tire tread gauge is a great option. These inexpensive tools are found at any parts department, and unlike the penny test, you can get exact measurements instantly by pressing the tool into the tire grooves.
  • Tread Wear Bars: If you’d prefer something even easier, some tires have tread wear indicator bars built directly into them. Just look at the bars and if they are flush with the surrounding tire ribs, the tread depth has reached 2/32 of an inch.

Get Expert Tire Care with Sangster Motors

Now you know how to check tire tread quickly and accurately, but what if you still have questions? Feel free to contact us at Sangster Motors or stop by our dealership in Wenatchee! Whether you need a tire tread gauge or a new set of tires, we can help you with all of your automotive needs.


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