How to Check Tire Tread Depth

Learning how to check tire tread depth is simple! There are numerous methods you can use, one of which requires nothing more than a penny. Join the Hendrick Chevrolet Shawnee Mission service department below to explore the numerous easy methods you can employ to measure your tread wear at home in Kansas City today.

What is the Proper Tire Tread Depth?

First things first: what is the recommended tire tread depth? When your tires are new, they have a depth of about 10/32 or 11/32 of an inch (or about ⅓ of an inch). This applies to standard road tires or all-season tires. Grippier tires, like winter tires or off-roading tires, will tend to have deeper tread grooves.

Once the tire tread depth reaches 2/32 of an inch, it’s time to replace them. This recommendation comes from the U.S. Department of Transportation, so you can feel good about following it to keep you safe on Shawnee Mission roads.

How Do I Check Tire Tread Wear with a Penny?

The most accurate way to measure your tire tread depth is to use a ruler, but if you’re in a pinch without a ruler on hand, you can simply use a penny! Here’s how to check tire tread depth with nothing more than a U.S. penny:

  1. Choose a tire tread groove to place the penny into with Lincoln positioned head-first.
  2. Note whether Lincoln’s face is covered by the grooves or if it is visible.
  3. If all of Lincoln’s head is visible between the grooves, your tire treads have 2/32 of an inch or less of depth left, meaning it’s time for tire replacement.
  4. To ensure accuracy, repeat the above steps a few times at multiple locations on each of your four tires.

How Do I Check Tire Tread Wear Using a Different Method?

If you don’t have a penny available or would prefer to use a more precise measurement tool, there are two additional ways you can measure your tire tread depth:

  • Tread Depth Gauge: Tread depth gauges are inexpensive and a great way to get an exact measurement for your tire tread depth. On one end of the gauge, there is a probe that should be inserted into the shallowest tread groove. Then, press the bar at the top of the gauge down until it’s flat against the tire to get your tread wear measurement.
  • Tread Wear Bars: Did you know that your tires likely have a measurement tool built into them? They’re called tread wear bars, and they’re located at the bottom of the tread grooves at various locations around the tire. If the surrounding ribs are flush with the tread wear bars, you’ll know your tread depth has reached 2/32 of an inch.

Find New Tires at Hendrick Chevrolet Shawnee Mission!

Searching for new tires near Overland Park? At Hendrick Chevrolet Shawnee Mission, we carry all of the top tire brands! Utilize our tire finder to search for the tires that are compatible with your make, model, and driving needs, or contact us to get one-on-one help from a tire expert!

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