How to Check Tire Tread Depth

Checking Tire Tread_189773810


A common question we hear at the Basil Chevrolet Buick, inc. service center is, “How do I check tire tread wear?” Fortunately, this important task can be performed right in your Jamestown driveway. Having the proper tire tread is essential for safe driving on the roads of Westfield. Essentially, your tire treads grip the road so that you remain in control of your vehicle. Tires will wear down over time, and with less tread depth comes less traction between your tires and the road. This can be very dangerous during inclement weather in Dunkirk or when driving on challenging terrain.

Now that you know the importance of having the proper tread depth, you may be wondering how to check tire tread depth. The service department at Basil Chevrolet Buick, inc. has put together a helpful guide below.

Recommended Tire Tread Depth

When your tires are brand new, they’ll usually have a tread depth of about 10/32 or 11/32 of an inch (about a third of an inch). If you have opted for winter tires or you have a vehicle that is designed for off-roading, the tires may have even deeper tread grooves. How do you determine if it’s time to replace your tires? The U.S. Department of Transportation recommends replacing your tires if the tread depth falls to 2/32 of an inch or less. 

How to Check Tire Tread Depth: The Penny Test

Below, you can learn how to check tire tread depth using just a penny! It’s the perfect tool to use in a pinch if you don’t have a ruler or tire tread gauge on hand. How does it work? Simply follow the steps below:

  1. Insert the penny with Lincoln head-first into a tire tread groove.
  2. Look to see if Lincoln’s head is covered or if you can see it between the tread.
  3. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head, it means that the tread depth is 2/32 inches deep or less. If this is the case, your tires should be replaced.
  4. Perform the steps above on all four tires and in multiple locations on each tire.

Additional Methods

  • Tread Depth Gauge: Most auto parts stores like Basil Chevrolet Buick, inc. sell a special tool you can use to determine the tread depth of your tires. Insert the probe into the shallowest tread groove, then press the top bar of the gauge flat against the tire to see the tread wear rating.
  • Tread Wear Bars: Many tires also come with tread wear indicator bars built right in. They are located at the bottom of the tread grooves in several different spots on the tire. If the bars are flush with the surrounding tire ribs, the tread depth has hit 2/32 of an inch.

Turn to Basil Chevrolet Buick, inc. for Trusted Tire Care

Now that you know how to check tire tread depth, you may be interested in learning about other aspects of tire care. You may also have realized that it is time to replace your tires. Either way, Basil Chevrolet Buick, inc. can help. Contact us today if you have any questions, or set up an appointment for service at your earliest convenience.


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