How To Check Tire Tread
Your tires are the parts of your vehicle that are constantly in contact with the road. For this reason, tracking your car’s tire health is an important part of maintaining its overall health. One of the crucial parts of checking on the tires is measuring the depth of the tire tread.
We want drivers in Findlay, Tiffin, and Lima, OH, to stay informed and confident about their vehicle’s health. For this reason, our team at Findlay Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram (CDJR) has put together a guide on how to check tire tread.
What Is Tire Tread?
Put simply, the tread is what helps your tire maintain its grip on the road, which makes it easier to accurately steer and brake. As you drive, the tire tread will wear down, and it’ll be time for new tires once they’re worn down too much.
How the tread wears down can also point to other potential issues. If the tire is excessively worn in the center, it could mean they are over-inflated. Conversely, excessive wear on the tire’s shoulders could signal underinflation. Uneven tread wear could point to a problem with the wheel alignment.
How To Measure Tire Tread
Now that you know why tire tread is important, let’s look at how to measure it.
Tire tread is typically measured in 1/32-inch increments. Most new tires start at 10/32 of an inch or 12/32 of an inch, with some reaching as high as 15/32 of an inch. A tire is considered worn down or “bald” when it reaches 2/32 of an inch.
It’s recommended you check the tire tread at least once a month and monitor it closely when it reaches 4/32 of an inch. You may also want to consider replacing your car’s tires earlier if you frequently drive in rainy or snowy conditions.
As for how to check tire tread depth, there are a few options…
Tread Depth Gauge
A tread depth gauge is a special tool designed specifically for monitoring tread depth. It usually features a needle-like design, with a metal probe that enters the tread and a scale that extends from the back of the probe with measurements in 1/32 of an inch.
To use a depth gauge, insert the probe between the “ribs” of the tread and push down. Once the base of the gauge meets the tread, remove it from the tire without touching the needle. Then, simply read the measurement on the scale.
If you don’t have a tread depth gauge handy, but you have some loose change lying around, you’re in luck! All you need is a penny or quarter to measure tread depth. Simply insert one of the coins upside down between the tread ribs, with the head side facing you.
If you use a penny, you’ll want the tread to cover Lincoln’s head. This means you’re still at an acceptable depth. If it doesn’t cover his head at all, it’s time to look into getting some new tires.
Meanwhile, if you’re using a quarter, you’ll want the tread to at least be touching Washington’s head. This means there’s at least 4/32 of an inch remaining, which means you’re good for now, but you’ll want to start tire shopping soon. If the tread doesn’t touch his head at all, then you’ll want to start shopping right away.
On-Tire Tread Indicators
If you don’t have any tools or change nearby, there’s still another way on the tire itself to check its tread.
Many tires have a wear indicator in the form of a raised rubber bar that sits around 2/32 of an inch at the bottom of the tread groove. If the tread is worn close to or is even with the bar, it’s time to replace the tires.
However you choose to measure tread, it’s important to measure it in various places on the tire to check for any uneven or excessive wear.