How Do I Check Tire Tread Wear?

checking the depth of car tire tread

Learning how to check tire tread depth can save you a lot of stress. It only takes a moment to determine if it’s time to trade up for a new set. Here’s how the three most common methods work:

  • Purchasing a tire tread gauge allows you to get the most precise measurement. Simply insert the gauge into the groove, get your reading, and get back on the road.
  • You can also use a penny: insert a standard U.S. penny into the groove with Lincoln’s head facing down, toward you. Can you see his whole head? If so, your tires are due for replacement.
  • Some tires include tread wear bars as standard. Check to see if they’re present in your tread grooves. When the top of the groove is flush with the top of the bar, it’s time for a new set of tires.

Always check each tire’s tread depth at multiple locations, and check each tire individually. If you’re near Jersey City or Fort Lee, our service team would be happy to assist you at any stage of the process.

What is the Recommended Tire Tread Depth?

Your tire tread depth should never fall below 2/32 or 1/16 of an inch. This recommendation comes from the U.S. Department of Transportation, and it is a legal requirement. If you’re driving on tires with a tread that’s not this deep, you’re putting yourself, your passengers, and other drivers at risk.

Although there are exceptions where winter tires, performance tires, and off-road tires are concerned, most tires for passenger vehicles come with a starting depth of 10/32 or 11/32 of an inch. If you’re following a proper rotation schedule, they could last for six years or more.

Why Learn How to Check Tire Tread Depth?

Even if you schedule service regularly, knowing how to check tire tread depth is an important part of your responsibility as an owner or lessee. Here’s why:

  • Safer, More Satisfying Drives: Driving on tires with low treads can reduce your fuel economy, limit your traction, and increase the risk of blowouts and accidents.
  • Learn About Your Vehicle: Tire tread wear can tell you a lot about your vehicle’s internal systems, especially if that tread wear is uneven.
  • Recognize the Symptoms: Differences in tread wear between tires may be a sign that you’re due for rotation. Differences in tread wear between different points on the same tire may indicate deeper suspension or alignment issues.

It’s a good idea to check your tire air pressure at least once a month. Most drivers will check tread wear at the same time, especially if it’s been a few years since they’ve picked up a new set.

We Make Tire Care Easy

Skip the guesswork and stay on top of all your service needs with Land Rover Englewood. Explore our service specials now if you’re ready to make an appointment, or continue your research by browsing our popular service tips and tricks. It’s easy to care for tires at home in New York City or Weehawken.

Land Rover Englewood 40.8806336, -73.9825438.