If you’re unsure if your tires’ tread is low, you can check the tires for wear with a penny or a tire tread gauge. Find out how to check the tire tread with these steps from our expert mechanics.
How to Check Tire Tread
What Does Tread Wear Mean?
Tire tread wears down over time from use. Tire tread helps the tire grip the road or ground by giving traction and displacing elements and debris like water and sand. The less tread a tire has the less safe it is to drive with.
How Deep Should Tire Treads Be?
- New tires usually measure at 10/32″ or 11/32″ depending on the model. Heavier duty vehicles may have deeper tire treads.
- 5/32″ means more than half of the tread has worn.
- A tire that has multiple treads of 3/32″ or below needs to be replaced.
How to Measure Tire Tread Depth
How to Check Tire Tread with a Penny
You can check the tire tread with a penny by placing a penny upside down and seeing how much of the tire covers Lincoln’s head. If multiple treads measure above the hairline, the tire needs to be replaced. If multiple treads measure below the hairline, the tire is still in good condition.
How to Check Tire Tread with a Tire Tread Gauge
Place the tire tread gauge onto the tire tread and measure down. The digital display will show how much tread on the tire is left.
Check all of the treads. Any tire with multiple treads of 3/32″ and below need to be replaced.
Tire Wear Patterns and What They Mean
- If the center of the tire is wearing, the tire was probably overinflated
- If the inner and outer treads on either side of the tire are wearing, the tire was probably underinflated
- A tire with a worn inner or outer treads means the vehicle’s alignment is probably off
How to Replace a Tire By Yourself
Find out how to replace a tire yourself with with 1A Auto’s how-to videos. Learn how to complete other diagnostics and repairs for many makes and models, like how to perform an alignment on a car by yourself.
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