How to Measure Tire Tread Depth?

How to Measure Tire Tread Depth?

Measuring tire tread depth on a regular basis is crucial for safe driving and optimal vehicle performance. Tires with worn treads can reduce traction, lengthen your stopping distances, and even potentially lead to blowouts. In this guide, we'll show you how to measure tire tread depth with a tread depth gauge, or the tread indicators on the tire itself, as well as how to maintain optimal tread depth. Read on with Cambridge Centre Honda to find out how to keep your vehicle running safely and efficiently, and all your tire needs.

How to Use a Tire Depth Gauge

A tire depth gauge is a tool used to measure the depth of tire treads. Simply insert the probe of a tire depth gauge into the centre of a tread groove until the gauge's base rests on the tire. Tire Depth gauges are available at your local automotive store like Canadian Tire or department stores like Wal-Mart.

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

How to Use Your Tire's Tread Wear Indicators

Tread wear indicators are built into the design of many new tires. These indicators can be small rubber bars that run parallel to the tread grooves on the tire, or even number % values that indicate how much tread is left (80%, 60%, 40%, etc). It's time to replace the tire when the tread wears down to the level of the indicator bars or when the tread is worn down to 2/32" or less. Simply inspect the tire and look for the bars to check for wear using these indicators. If they are flush with the tread, the tire must be replaced. This method is less accurate than using a tire depth gauge, but it can provide a quick visual indication of the overall condition of the tire without the need for an additional tool.

How to Maintain Your Tire Treads

While wearing down your tire treads is inevitable with every kilometre you drive, there are several habits you can begin right now that can help you prolong your tire life for as long as possible.

  • Ensure tires are properly inflated to the manufacturer's recommended pressure (indicated on tire).
  • Rotate tires regularly to promote even wear.
  • Don't overload the vehicle with heavy cargo, which can cause excess wear on the tires.
  • Drive careful and smart, avoid sudden acceleration, hard braking, and sharp turns, which can cause unnecessary wear on the tires.
  • Drive at moderate speeds to reduce heat buildup and wear on the tires.
  • Avoid driving on poorly maintained roads or rough terrain, which can cause excessive wear on the tires.