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How to Check Tire Tread Depth at Home

Are you asking yourself, “how do I check tire tread wear?” If you’d like to avoid bringing your car into a service center to get a measurement on your tread wear, there are several tools you can utilize right at home in Fremont or Dublin! Learn how to check tire tread depth using common household items, below.

What Should My Tire Tread Depth Be?

If your tires aren’t very old, their tread depth might be close to 10/32 or 11/32 of an inch (or about ⅓ of an inch). Do you have tough all-terrain tires? The tread depth on these types of tires can be even deeper than 11/32 of an inch when they’re brand-new.

At what point is tread depth considered too shallow? The U.S. Department of Transportation reports that once your tire tread reaches 2/32 of an inch, it’s time to invest in a new set. If your treads get lower than 2/32 of an inch, it will become dangerous to drive on Livermore roads because your tires won’t have good traction.

How Do I Check Tire Tread Wear with a Penny?

The easiest and most effective way to measure tire tread depth, of course, is with a ruler. However, you may have also heard that in a pinch, you can measure your tread wear with a U.S. penny. Indeed, Abe Lincoln’s face serves as an ideal indicator of whether your tread wear has gotten too low! Here’s how to check tire tread depth with nothing more than a penny:

  1. Put the penny with Lincoln facing head-first into a tread groove.
  2. Is Lincoln’s head covered by the treads and no longer visible? If so, then your tire tread is still good.
  3. If you’re able to see all of Lincoln’s head above the tread, then your tire treads have reached 2/32 of an inch or less.
  4. To ensure accuracy, repeat these steps in various locations on all four of your tires.

How to Check Tire Tread Depth Using Other Tools

If you’re finding it difficult to measure your tread depth with a penny, there are a couple of other ways you can get the measurements you need:

  • Tread Depth Gauge: You’d need to purchase this tool, but you can buy a very basic, inexpensive one and it will do the trick just fine. And, you’ll likely get extensive use out of it in the future. On one end of the gauge, there will be a probe, which will be inserted into the shallowest tread groove. Then, slide the flat bar at the top of the gauge down until it’s flush against the tire. Remove the tread depth gauge to see where the bar is sitting – this will tell you your tread depth measurement.
  • Tread Wear Bars: Did you know that your tires have a tread depth measurement tool built right into them? They’re called tread wear indicator bars, and they’re placed in various locations across your tires in-between the tread grooves. If you see that the bars are flush with the tread grooves surrounding them, you’ll know right away that the tread depth has reached 2/32 of an inch or less.

Are you finding that your tread wear is a little uneven? You may need to adjust your tire rotation schedule.

Find High-Quality New Tires at Lexus of Pleasanton

Searching for high-quality replacement tires for your Lexus vehicle? The tire center at Lexus of Pleasanton offers a comprehensive selection, including top brands like Michelin and Yokohama. Before you purchase your next set, be sure to check our service specials for convenient tire rebates and price matching offers!

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