How to Check Tire Tread Depth

checking the depth of car tire tread

You should never let your tire tread depth fall below 2/32 of an inch. You can see when your tires are wearing thin, but of course, if you’re anything like most Scottsdale-area drivers, you’d probably prefer to skip the guesswork. Thankfully, learning how to check tire tread depth only takes a minute. 

You can get a precise measurement at home with a penny, a tread gauge, or the tread wear bars built into your tires! We’ve covered all three techniques below.

What is the Recommended Tire Tread Depth? 

Most tires come standard with a tread depth of 10/32 or 11/32–roughly one-third–of an inch. Other tires, such as winter tires, off-road tires, or performance tires, may have a more or less tread depth at the time of your purchase.

Of course, no matter which kind of tires you’ve picked up for your vehicles, the recommended tread depth for replacement never changes. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, you should always replace your tires when the tread is less than 2/32 of an inch deep. Looking for a time frame? Find out how long most tires last today.

How Do I Check Tire Tread Wear?

  • With a Tread Depth Gauge – If you’ve picked up a dedicated tread depth gauge at our Phoenix parts department, there’s really not much we can teach you about how to check tire tread depth. Just fit the gauge into your tire, get your reading, and–crucially–check each tire at multiple locations. 
  • With a Penny – Using a penny is even easier. Just insert Lincoln’s head into the tread with his face down and out. If you can see his whole face, schedule service as soon as possible; your tires are below the recommended tread depth for replacement.
  • With your Tread Wear Bars – If your tires have arrived with tread wear bars built in, you can find them at the bottom of the tread grooves, hidden from normal view. These small inserts rise to precisely 2/32 of an inch. If they’re flush with the top of the tread, or visible from the side, schedule service as soon as possible.

If you need a second opinion on your tread depth, feel free to bring your vehicle into our service center. We’re easy to reach from anywhere near Phoenix or Peoria.

Be advised that major differences in tread depth between tires is usually a sign that you’ve missed your recommended tire rotation. Differences in tread depth on the same tire often indicate more serious problems, such as suspension or steering issues.

Maintain Your Tires at Jaguar North Scottsdale

Don’t wait for an emergency. Keeping your tires at or above the recommended tread depth is just as important as keeping them full of air! You can minimize the risk of blowouts and flats by scheduling service regularly and picking up new tires through our Phoenix tire store

Interested in swapping out one or more of your tires at home? Find out how to change a car tire today.

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Jaguar North Scottsdale 33.650245, -111.9262896.