How to Check Tire Tread Depth

close up of tire tread

A common question we hear at the Atlantic Volkswagen service center is, “How do I check tire tread wear?” Fortunately, it is quick and easy to perform this task right in your driveway. Learn how to check tire tread depth with this handy guide from Atlantic Volkswagen, and if you are in need of tire care or replacement near Atlantic City, we invite you to set up an appointment at our service center.

Recommended Tire Tread Depth 

The tread depth on most new tires is approximately 10/32 or 11/32 of an inch (about a third of an inch). You will likely see deeper tread grooves on winter tires as well as some truck and SUV tires. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, tires need to be replaced when the tread depth reaches 2/32 of an inch. Why is the proper tread depth so important? It ensuresthat your tires are safe for the Wildwood roads. 

The Penny Test

For the most accurate tire tread depth reading, a ruler is recommended. However, you may not have one on hand. That’s ok! You can actually use a penny to see if your tires have enough tread depth for safe travels. The design on the U.S. penny makes it the perfect household tool to measure your tire wear. Wondering how to check tire tread depth with a penny? Just follow the steps below: 

  1. Insert a penny with Lincoln head-first into a tire tread groove.
  2. Observe if Lincoln’s head is covered or not.
  3. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head, your tires are at or below that 2/32 of an inch threshold and should be replaced.
  4. Check each of the tires on your vehicle, and inspect multiple locations on all of the tires.

How Do I Check Tire Tread Wear Using Other Methods?

There are other ways to check tire tread depth besides using a ruler or a penny:

  • Tread Depth Gauge: A tire depth gauge is a handy tool to have, and it can give you an accurate reading in no time. Not sure how to check tire tread depth with a tread depth gauge? Simply insert the probe into the shallowest tread groove, then press the top bar of the gauge flat against the tire to see the tread wear rating.
  • Tread Wear Bars: Did you know that a majority of newer tires have built-in tread wear indicator bars? 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 is a sign that you need to replace your tires. 

Prolong the Life of Your Tires with Atlantic Volkswagen

Atlantic Volkswagen is your source for trusted tire care and maintenance in the Egg Harbor Township area. If you have any questions about how to prolong the life of your tires, do not hesitate to contact the experts at Atlantic Volkswagen. You can also set up a service appointment with us.

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