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How Do I Check Tire Tread Wear?

Winter tire wheels using 4WD


If you want to maintain your tires properly, you might wonder “How do I check tire tread wear?” The answer is simple! You can use anything from a tread depth gauge to a common penny. Learn how to check tire tread depth like a pro, and visit the service team at Billion Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram FIAT for your next tire service!



What is the Recommended Tire Tread Depth? 

When you pick up a brand new set of tires in Sioux City, they’ll have a tread depth of about 10/32 or 11/32 of an inch (about a third of an inch). Specialized tires, like winter and off-roading tires, might have even deeper tread grooves. Additionally, truck and SUV tires can have extra tread depth compared to a small sedan or hatchback.

So, when do you need to replace your set? The U.S. Department of Transportation recommends getting new tires when the tread depth reaches 2/32 of an inch on your current set. Your tire tread is vital to maintaining proper handling, so your safety and performance can be compromised if your tread levels are too low.

What are the Methods of Checking Tread Depth?

Checking your tread depth is simple, and you can use a wide variety of tools to get the job done. 

  • Ruler: A ruler can accurately measure your remaining tread depth. Just place the ruler into the grooves and take a reading. 
  • Tread Depth Gauge: While a ruler will be accurate, a tread depth gauge can be more convenient for Brookings drivers. Found in any automotive parts department, this tool features a probe that is inserted into the shallowest tread groove. Simply press the top bar of the gauge flat against the tire to see the tread wear rating.
  • Tread Wear Bars: Some tires include tread wear indicator bars built into the bottom of the tread grooves. Once the bars are flush with the tire ribs that surround them, it indicates that the tread depth is 2/32 of an inch.

How Do I Check Tire Tread Wear with a Penny?

Learning how to check tire tread depth doesn’t have to cost much. In fact, you can even use a regular penny to keep tabs on your tread in Mitchell. Here’s how:

  1. Insert the penny with Lincoln head pointed down into a tire tread groove.
  2. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head, that means your tire treads are 2/32 inches deep or less and it’s time to replace them.
  3. If Lincoln’s head is not completely visible, it means your tread level is greater than 2/32 inches deep.
  4. Repeat this process on all four tires and in multiple locations on each tire.

Get Quality Car Service at Billion Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram FIAT

Whether you want to pick up a tread depth gauge or schedule your next maintenance appointment, you can trust the auto experts at Billion Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram FIAT for quality car care. Contact us with any questions about how to check tire tread depth and visit our dealership in Sioux Falls.

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