How to Check Tire Tread

Checking tire tread with a penny

How do I check tire tread wear? Many drivers in North Canton and Canton are surprised that you can learn how to check tire tread with a penny, a ruler, a gauge, built-in wear bars, and plenty other items. In this guide, we walk you through the basics of how to check tire tread depth and the benefits of keeping up with your tire maintenance. Get more tips from us at Serra Mazda, and be sure to visit us in Akron for all of your automotive needs!



What is the Recommended Tire Tread Depth?

A brand new set of tires usually has a tread depth around 10/32 or 11/32 of an inch, or about a third of an inch. Winter and off-road tires often have more tread, as do SUV and truck tires, to keep up with more challenging driving conditions. The U.S. Department of Transportation recommends replacing tires when only 2/32 of an inch or less of tread remains. Why does it matter? Your tread is responsible for your traction on the Hudson roads, and the more tread you have, the better your car handles. When your tread wears down, your car won’t stay as grounded – especially in inclement weather and tough terrain.

How to Check Tire Tread with a Penny

Learning how to check your tire tread depth is simple and you can even take measurements with a penny! This coin just happens to be the perfect size to measure your tread depth, so it’s one of the least expensive maintenance tasks you can do. Here are the steps of how to check your tire tread with a penny:

  1. Insert the penny into the tire tread groove with Lincoln’s head pointed down toward the ground.
  2. Check to see how much of Lincoln’s head is sticking out of the groove.
  3. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head, your tire treads are 2/32 inches deep or less and it’s time to replace them. If his head is covered, you’re good to go.
  4. Repeat this process on all four tires and in multiple locations on each tire.

What Are Other Ways to Check Tread on Tires?

How do I check my tire tread wear if I can’t find a penny? There are tons of different methods of how to check tire tread depth, so don’t hesitate to talk with our service experts for suggestions. But, here are two other common ways to take measurements from home:

  • Tread Depth Gauge: You can pick up a tread depth gauge at our parts department or any auto store. Just insert the probe into the tread groove and press the top bar flat against the tire surface. You’ll get an instant measurement of the remaining tread depth.
  • Tread Wear Bars: Some tires have tread wear indicator bars built directly into them. Check the bottom of the tread grooves to see if you find bars along multiple locations. Once your tread has worn significantly, the bars will become flush with the surface of the tire – and that’s your sign to get a replacement set.

Get Expert Tire Care with Serra Mazda

Now you know how to check tread on tires! Want to schedule your next tire rotation at our service department? Or maybe you’d like to pick up a tire tread depth gauge at our parts center? Contact us with your automotive needs, and we’d be happy to help. You can even schedule your next service appointment online! For more helpful maintenance information, review how often you should have your Mazda oil changed and how often to schedule tire rotation services!


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