How to Check Tire Tread Depth

close up of tire tread

Pace drivers who want to ensure their tires are in good shape to keep going on the roads would want to know how to check tire tread depth. There’s several methods, some you can even use items you probably already have at home. Learn more about them below with the service team at Sandy And Bubba's Milton Chevrolet before you get started! 

Recommended Tire Tread Depth 

When you get brand new tires, they will have a tread depth of about 10/32 or 11/32 of an inch (about a third of an inch). For winter tires, tires designed for off-roading, or even some truck and SUV tires, they could have even deeper tread grooves.

If your tires are at 2/32 of an inch, then you will need to replace your tires according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. With the proper tire tread depth, you can drive safely on the Navarre roads!

How to Check Tire Tread Depth: 3 Methods 

If you have a ruler handy, our service technicians would recommend using that as it is the most accurate way to check the tread depth of your tires. However, if you don’t have a ruler, you can use one of these no-nonsense methods:

The Penny Test

A U.S. penny is perfect for measuring the wear. All you have to do is these steps: 

  1. Put the penny with Lincoln head-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 head, this means your tire treads are 2/32 inches deep or less and it’s time to replace them.
  4. Repeat this process on the rest of your tires and in multiple locations on each tire.

Tire Tread Depth Gauge 

If you don’t have a penny, you can invest in a tread depth gauge. While it will cost some money than using a ruler or penny you already have at your Crestview home, most car owners find this tool to be helpful and even less time-consuming. You will need to put the probe into the shallowest tread groove and then press the top bar of the gauge flat against the tire to see the treadwear rating.

Tread Wear Bars

A good majority of tires come with tread wear indicator bars built into them. To check if yours have them, you should look at the bottom of the tread grooves in multiple locations across the tire. If the bars are flush with the tire ribs that surround them, then this means the tread depth has reached 2/32 of an inch.

Take Care of Your Tires at Sandy And Bubba's Milton Chevrolet

Now that you know how to check your tire tread depth, you can learn more service tips from our experts! If you ever need any tire help, schedule an appointment and come by our Milton location. Feel free to contact our service team with any questions! 


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