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How to Check Tire Tread Depth

close up of tire tread

Many Cedar Park drivers come to us and ask “How do I check tire tread wear?” We are always happy to tell them that the process is easy and can be done with a ruler or penny! Let us walk you through the process of how to check tire tread depth by yourself, so you can figure out if you need new tires, especially for drivers who don’t have a tire pressure monitoring system or TPMS handy. 

Suggested Tire Tread Depth 

Before we tell you how to check the tire tread depth, you’ll need to know what are the depth measurements you should be looking for. In new tires, you should expect them to have a 

tread depth of about 10/32 or 11/32 of an inch (about a third of an inch). If you have winter tires, tires for off-roading driving, or even truck and SUV tires, they will probably have a deeper tread groove.

If you find that the depth to be 2/32 of an inch, then you will need to replace your tires according to the U.S. Department of Transportation for safe driving on the Austin roads. Keeping up with routine tire rotation and other proper tire care allows you to use the same set of tires for a long period of time! 

How Do I Check Tire Tread Wear: The Penny Test

So how do you check tire tread wear? While a ruler is the best way to get an accurate tire tread depth, you might not have one, so you can do the penny test instead. Do the following to check your tire tread wear: 

  1. Put the penny with Lincoln head-first into a tire tread groove.
  2. See if Lincoln’s head is covered by the grooves.
  3. If you see all of Lincoln’s head, then your tire treads are 2/32 inches deep or less, meaning you need to replace your tires. 
  4. Repeat steps 1-3 on all four tires and in multiple locations on each tire to see which tire is no longer safe to drive with anymore.

How Do I Check Tire Tread Wear: Other Methods

If you don’t have loose change on hand, you can try these methods instead: 

  • Tread Depth Gauge –  Use a tread depth gauge by putting the probe into the shallowest tread groove. Next, press the top bar of the gauge flat against the tire to see the treadwear rating. This could be a good method for those Pflugerville drivers who want a reliable tech to confirm the results with them! 
  • Tread Wear Bars – Most tires have tread wear indicator bars built into them, usually at the bottom of tread grooves in several locations. If the bars are flush with the tire ribs around them, that means the tread depth has reached 2/32 of an inch and it is time for some new tires.

Take Care of Your Tires with Help From Nyle Maxwell GMC

Tire care is an essential part of safe driving on the Round Rock roads. Come by the service center at Nyle Maxwell GMC and our service technicians can help you! Use our tire and alignment coupons to save on your next tire-related service at Nyle Maxwell GMC. Schedule your appointment now! If you need new tires, shop for them online from us.

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3000 North I-35
Round Rock, TX 78681
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