How to Check Tire Tread Depth

Checking tire tread depth with a penny

If you’re wondering, “How do I check tire tread wear,” read our guide to learn how to properly evaluate the health of your tires, so you can ensure you don’t have a blowout on Sarasota streets. If you find your tires are in need of replacement, reach out to the Cox Chevrolet service department for help in Bradenton, and don’t forget to check out our service specials to see how much you can save!

What is the Recommended Tire Tread Depth?

Step one of how to check your tire tread depth is to know when to replace your tires. New tires should have a tread depth of between 10/32 and 11/32 of an inch. If your vehicle has winter, off-road, or performance tires installed, your tread maybe thicker. Once you hit 2/32 of an inch in your tread, it’s time to have your tires replaced, but how do you check tire tread wear? Let’s take a look. 

The Penny Test 

The most common method for how to check tire tread depth is to perform the penny test. Grab any old penny lying around in your Tampa house. Then: 

  1. Insert a penny into the tread groove with Lincoln’s head pointed toward the rubber.
  2. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head, it’s time to replace the tire. If all or part of his head is still covered, you still have some tread. 
  3. Do this process for each tire, checking at multiple locations across the tread. 

How Do I Check Tire Tread Depth Using Other Methods? 

If you don’t have a penny on hand, we can show you how to check tire tread using more conventional methods. Let’s take a look. 

  • Tread Bars: The majority of tires feature a tread wear bar that will become exposed in the tread at around 2/32 of an inch. If you see this indicator bar, Most tires come with tread wear indicator bars built into them. You’ll find them at the bottom of the tread grooves in multiple locations across the tire. If the bars are flush with the tire ribs that surround them, it indicates that the tread depth has reached 2/32 of an inch.
  • Tread Gauge: To use a tread depth gauge, insert the probe of the gauge into the shallowest groove of the tread. Then, press the top bar of the gauge flat against the tire, and the probe will give you a reading of the tread depth.  

Have Questions About How to Check Tread Depth? 

If you have any other questions about checking tire tread depth, give Cox Chevrolet a call at 941-538-7407. We can walk you through the process, and if you find you’re in need of tire replacement, we’ll make sure you find the perfect tires for your vehicle at affordable prices. In the meantime, take a look at our service tips for other helpful reads, including our overview of how many miles tires last


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