How to Check Tire Tread Depth

close up of tire tread

You may be curious about how to check tire tread depth so you know when it’s time to take your vehicle in for new tires, as well as the importance of routine tire rotations and more. Want to know how to check tire tread depth? All you need is a ruler or penny! Find out how to check tire tread depth so you can find out when to change your tires. Do you have any questions? Contact us today!



Why Is Checking Your Tire Tread Depth Important? 

Why are tire treads important? Your tire treads grip the road as you drive throughout Chicago and New Lenox, helping you remain in control of your vehicle. Your tire tread depth will gradually decrease as you drive, lessening the amount of traction between your tires and the road. If your tire tread depth isn’t deep enough, this could put you in danger. This is especially true during inclement weather conditions when roads are slippery and having good traction is more important than ever, such as with rain, snow, and ice. 

What Is the Recommended Tire Tread Depth? 

When you purchase a new set of tires, they’ll typically have a tread depth of about 10/32 or 11/32 of an inch (about a third of an inch). Winter tires and tires designed for off-roading purposes, as well as some truck and SUV tires, usually have deeper tread grooves because they have different requirements for traction.

How Do I Check Tire Tread Wear: The Penny Test

A ruler is the most accurate way to measure tire tread depth. However, a penny will suffice! The design on the U.S. penny makes it a perfect, and convenient, tool for measuring tire wear:

  1. Insert the penny with Lincoln head-first into a tire tread groove that seems to be the most worn.
  2. Check if Lincoln’s head is covered and no longer visible between the grooves.
  3. If you can see the entirety of Lincoln’s head, your tire treads are 2/32 inches deep or less. That means you should replace the tire as soon as possible.
  4. Repeat this process on all four tires and in multiple locations on each tire, especially where the tread is the most worn.

How Do I Check Tire Tread Wear in Other Ways?

  • Tread Depth Gauge: You can purchase a tread depth gauge from any Hammond-area auto part store. 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: Most tires have tread wear indicator bars built into them. You can find them at the bottom of the tread grooves in multiple locations across the tires. If the bars are flush with the surrounding tire ribs, this means that the tread depth has reached 2/32 of an inch.

Keep Your Tires in Excellent Condition With Sutton Ford

Visit our service center today! Not only can our service center take care of your tire’s service needs, but also plenty of other routine maintenance needs of your vehicle. Come into our service center in Matteson today, and schedule service online.


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Sutton Ford 41.503201, -087.751413.