How to Check Tire Tread Depth

close up of tire tread

The treads on your tires grip the road as you drive your vehicle, which is essential to keeping the right amount of traction between your car and the road. Having the proper tire tread depth is essential to keeping you safe on the Saugus roads, particularly if there are slippery roads or inclement weather conditions that could make driving more hazardous. Therefore, it’s important that you check your tire tread depth now and then to make sure it’s within the proper limit.


If you’re asking yourself, “How do I check tire tread wear?”, it’s easier than you might think! There are a few different methods, but the easiest requires only a penny or a ruler. The service team at Pride Kia of Lynn has outlined all the details in the guide below.

What Is the Recommended Tire Tread Depth? 

A brand-new set of tires usually has a tread depth of around 10/32 or 11/32 of an inch – around a third of an inch. However, tires specifically designed for winter weather or off-roading will have deeper tread grooves for even more traction. As time goes on and you drive more frequently, your tire tread will wear down. The Department of Transportation generally recommends that you replace your tires when the tread depth measures 2/32 (or 1/16) of an inch. 

How Do I Check Tire Tread Depth?

You can use a ruler to most accurately measure tire tread depth, since it has inch markings, but you can also use a common U.S. penny as an easy alternative! Its size and design make the penny the perfect tool to measure your tire depth. Just follow these easy steps:

  1. Insert the penny into a tire tread groove, Lincoln head-first.
  2. Check to see if Lincoln’s head is still visible between the grooves.
  3. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head, that means the tire treads are 2/32 inches deep or less, meaning it’s time to get them replaced.
  4. Repeat the same process on all of your tires. You might also consider performing the test in multiple locations on each tire just to make sure. 

What Are Other Ways to Check Your Tire Tread Depth?

If you don’t want to use the ruler or penny method, there are two other easy methods you can use to check your tire tread wear:

  • Tread Depth Gauge: These tools can be purchased at almost any auto parts store. Just insert the probe into the shallowest tire tread groove and press the top bar of the gauge flat against the tire to reveal the tread wear rating.
  • Tread Wear Bars: You can find your tires’ tread wear bars at the bottom of the tread grooves in multiple locations across the tires. If the bars are flush with the surrounding tire ribs, this means that the tread depth has reached 2/32 of an inch and needs to be replaced.

Keep Your Tires in Excellent Condition With Pride Kia of Lynn

If you’re performed a test of your tire tread depth and found that it’s 2/32 of an inch or less, just schedule a service appointment online, and come by our Salem-area service center! We’ll take a closer look at your tires and install new ones. Be sure to contact us if you have any questions or want more information about the services we offer. Don’t forget to check out our service specials if you’re looking to save on your appointment!


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