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How Do I Check Tire Tread Wear?

Checking tire tread with a penny

If you’re wondering to yourself, “How do I check tire tread wear,” then congratulations — you’re in the right place. Ryan Honda in Williston has the answers you seek. Learn all about different ways you’ll want to know how to check tire tread depth. From the most accurate methods to the most convenient and easily accessible ones, we can help you find a tire tread depth measurement technique that works for you in your current situation!

Have a flat or a tire that’s so worn after measuring it that it requires putting a spare on immediately to travel further in Watford City or Dickinson? We can help you learn how to change a car tire and more! Just contact us with all your tire care questions! Meanwhile, read more about the importance of tire tread depth and find a couple of methods for checking it below!

What is the Recommended Tire Tread Depth?

Most new tires have a tread depth of about 10/32 or 11/32 of an inch (that’s roughly a third of an inch). Winter tires and snow tires, not to mention 4×4 tires you might find on lifted trucks, often have deeper treads.

What’s more, while there’s no real “recommended” tire tread depth your tires should have at any given time (tires wear, so the tread depth is always decreasing), there IS a legally mandated tread depth at which you’ll need to buy new tires. That tread depth, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, is 2/32 of an inch.

How to Check Tire Tread Depth in Williston

How do you know if your tires require replacing after having reached 2/32 of an inch of tread wear or less? Here are some handy methods for checking your tire tread wear in New Town or nearby.

The Penny Test

If you’re traveling on-the-road and you want to check your tires quickly, using a penny will get the job done in a pinch. Of course, using a ruler is more accurate. But this method is most convenient. Why? The design on the U.S. penny makes it the perfect household tool to measure your tire wear. Here’s how:

  1. Insert a penny with Lincoln head-first into one of your tires in the tread groove.
  2. Look to see if Lincoln’s head is completely covered between the grooves.
  3. Can you see Lincoln’s whole head, that means your tire treads are 2/32 inches deep or less and you’ll need to replace them!
  4. Repeat this process on all four tires and in multiple locations on each tire to get the most accurate tire tread wear reading.

How Do I Check Tire Tread Wear Using Other Methods?

If you don’t have spare change lying around, or if you’re looking to really get an accurate no-muss-no-fuss reading of your tire tread depth, here are three more accurate measurement techniques:

  • Tread Depth Gauge: Tire tread depth gauges are now ubiquitous. You can find them for sale at local convenience stores, gas stations, or of course, auto maintenance shops and OEM parts centers like ours. Plus they’re not expensive and they’re easy to use. To use a tread depth gauge, just put the probe into the shallowest tread groove, then press the top bar of the gauge flat against the tire to see the treadwear rating. Some gauges are digital and others are analog, but either way, you’ll get the information you need quickly, accurately, and easily with this method!
  • Small Ruler: You can use a small ruler that will fit in the wheel well between the tire and the plastic covering to get an accurate tire tread depth reading.
  • Tread Wear Bars: Many tires from popular brands like Michelin, Bridgestone, BF Goodrich, Dunlop, Pirelli, Continental, and more offer tread wear indicator bars built into the tire treads. If these tread wear bars are flush with the tire ribs that surround them, it means that the tread depth has reached 2/32 of an inch. And that means — you guessed it —it’s time to replace your tires.

Get More Tire Maintenance Tips with Ryan Honda

Ryan Honda is your premier destination for quality Honda service and maintenance you can trust in the greater Stanley area! Check out all our parts tips to learn more about how to care for your tires in Williston!

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