How to Measure Tread Depth

How to measure tread depth on your tires?

Are you wondering how much life your tires have left? Learning how to check tread depth is the best way to tell if your tires are safe for another season or if they’re almost ready to retire. Tires that don’t have enough tread depth put you at greater risk of hydroplaning, punctures and reduced traction. Fortunately, measuring tread depth regularly is a simple way to help ensure your tires can perform safely.

  1. How to check your tire depth with a tire depth gauge

Tire tread depth gauges are a fast and easy way to determine if your tires are still safe for use or if they need to be replaced. Tire tread depth gauges are available at your local automotive store and some drivers like to keep one in the glove compartment for easy access.

  • Find the shallowest groove of the tread and insert the pin of the gauge until the base is flush with the tire.
  • Read the scale. Here’s what you might see, and what you should do. Tire Tread Depth and what to do?
    • Tread Depth
      i) 5/32” or more: Your tire/tire(s) are in great condition and will handle braking very well (may even be brand new)
      ii) 3/32” - 4/32”: Your tire/tire(s) are starting to get worn down and it’s time to start looking at replacing them
      iii) 2/32” or less: Replace your tires immediately the impact on your braking is significant to your vehicle's performance

How to check your tire tread depth with a quarter

  • Slip the quarter between your tread blocks.
  • With Queen Elizabeth’s head down facing you, if the tread goes up past her hair line that means your tires have lots of tread. (they might even be new)
  • If you can see Queen Elizabeth’s head, that means there is hardly any tread left and your tires need to be replaced

Why you need tires with sufficient tread depth

  • Tires at or above the recommended tread depth level can give you better traction, reduced risk of punctures and the ability to push away water to help you avoid hydroplaning on wet or slippery roads.
  • While you’re checking tread depth on your tires, be sure to check your tire pressure and look for signs of unusual wear as well as signs of damage and aging, such as cracks, bulges or abrasions.