How to Measure Tire Tread Depth

January 10th, 2019 by

2019 Mazda CX-9

Learning how to measure tire tread depth is an important skill for any driver, and it’s surprisingly easy to master! Whether you spring for a specialized tire tread depth gauge or grab a few coins from your pocket, you can assess your tread level in seconds. Let’s go into the different tools and techniques that you’ll need:

Why Should I Care About Tread?

Your tire tread plays a huge role in your driving safety. Tread helps your vehicle grip the surface of the road, so you stay connected through any weather conditions – even during those harsh Schaumburg winters. A fresh set of tires has around 11/32 of an inch of tread to spare, and that will last you for quite awhile. But even with strict tire rotations and care, eventually, even the highest quality tires get worn down. Once you reach 2/32 of an inch, you need to schedule a replacement as soon as you can. Driving on bald tires compromises your safety, especially in wet and icy conditions, and that’s a risk that you don’t want to take.

What is the Tire Tread Penny Test?

There are many ways to measure your tire tread. Some tires include built-in indicator bars to show the level of wear, while other drivers rely on a tire tread depth gauge to get a precise measurement every time. But did you know that you can accurately measure your tread depth with just a penny? Check out the tire tread penny test:

  • Grab a penny and flip it upside down, so Lincoln’s head is pointed toward the ground.
  • Insert the penny directly into a tread rib until it touches the lowest point.
  • Take a look at how much of Lincoln’s head is visible.
  • If the tire covers Lincoln’s head, then you still have enough tread left. If you can clearly see the top of his head, it’s time to schedule your replacement.

Schedule Your Service Today

Now that you know how do you measure tire tread depth, feel free to drop by Biggers Mazda for more advice. We’re located near St Charles and Geneva, and we can help you find a new gauge or examine your tread level any time. If you’re ready for that inspection or tire rotation, or even if you want to learn more about wheel balancing vs. wheel alignment, schedule your service online to get started. Still have questions? Contact us!