How to Check Tire Tread Depth

Measuring Tire Tread Depth with a Ruler
The depth of your tire treads is the surest way to know whether you need to replace them or if it’s safe to drive around Shiloh, but how do you check tire tread wear? You’re not the only one wondering, and Auffenberg Dealer Group is here to help. Checking tire tread wear is one of the easiest vehicle maintenance tasks. All you need is a ruler or penny, and you can check your tire tread depth at home in Caseyville! For more information about checking your tire tread depth as well as the recommended tire tread depth, read on in this guide from Auffenberg Dealer Group.

What is the Recommended Tire Tread Depth?

New tires have a tread depth of about 10/32 or 11/32 of an inch (about a third of an inch). If you drive a vehicle with tires designed to handle off-roading adventures or treacherous winter weather conditions, or if you have a truck or SUV, there is a chance that your tire tread grooves will be even deeper.

The U.S. Department of Transportation recommends that your tires should be replaced when the tread depth reaches 2/32 of an inch. Keeping up with routine maintenance, like tire rotations, helps to extend the life of your tires.

The Penny Test

While you will get the most accurate measurement by using a ruler or a gauge (like the one pictured here), you can check the tread depth of your tires using a penny. The design on the U.S. penny makes it the perfect household tool to measure your tire wear. The steps below will tell you how to check the tread depth that is left on your set of tires.

  1. Insert a penny with Lincoln’s head face first into a tire tread groove.
  2. See if Lincoln’s head is covered and no longer visible between the grooves.
  3. If you can see all of Lincoln’s face, it is time to replace your tires.
  4. Check each of your tires using this method, and be sure to check several different locations on each tire in case of uneven tire wear.
Checking Tire Tread Depth with Gauge

Additional Ways to Monitor Tire Health

If you want the most accurate reading when checking your tires, There are special tools available, such as a tire tread depth gauge. Some tires also feature tread wear bars that let you know if your tires are at that 2/32 of an inch mark without having to take any measurements. At the same time, you are checking your tire tread depth, you should also check for the following:

  • Any visible tire damage
  • Tire rot or disintegration
  • Tire pressure
  • Wheel alignment

Extend the Life of Your Tires with Auffenberg Dealer Group

When you visit the team at Auffenberg Dealer Group for routine tire maintenance, you are actually helping to prolong the life of your tires. Set up your next service appointment today or contact us with any questions, like how to jump-start your car.

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