How Do I Check Tire Tread Depth?

Using a Lincoln head penny to measure tire tread depth for safety Lincolns head is completely exposed indicating that this tire is no longer safe and needs replace

Even the most carefully-maintained tires will eventually wear out, and when that day comes, you’ll need to know how to tell that their best days have come and gone. In fact, whether you think you’re due for a new set of tires or you just want to see if you’re in need of rotation, you can easily learn how to check tire tread depth at home. 

Learn about recommended tread depth, explore common tire care techniques, and answer the question, “How do I check tire tread wear?” below. 

What is the Recommended Tire Tread Depth? 

When you purchase new tires or a new vehicle, your tread depth should be roughly ⅓ of an inch–about 10/32 or 11/32 of an inch, to be precise. 

The U.S. Department of Transportation has a firm guideline: If your tire tread depth falls to 2/32 of an inch or less, it’s definitely time to trade up. You can learn how to change a tire at home, or you can schedule service and let us take care of everything.

How to Check Tire Tread Depth with a Penny

So, you’re worried that your tire treads are getting close to the end of their life. If you don’t have a ruler or a professional tread gauge on hand, you can quickly and easily find out if you’re due for replacement by inserting a penny in the tread! Here’s how it works:

  1. Take a penny and, with Lincoln’s head facing down and out toward you, insert it into the tread.
  2. If you can see all of Lincoln’s face, tread depth is less than 2/32 of an inch, and you need a new tire.
  3. It’s a good idea to check your tires at multiple locations, and to check each tire on your vehicle.

If there are significant differences between the tread depths on each of your tires, you might be due for tire rotation, even if your tires still have plenty of life left in them. If the tread depth on a single tire varies dramatically from place to place, your wheels may be misaligned or out of balance.

More Ways to Care for Your Tires

Caring for your tires doesn’t have to feel like a full-time job, but you should be checking your tire pressure at least once a month, and more often when the weather turns especially hot or especially cold in Crofton and Severna Park.

You may not need to check your tire tread depth quite as often, but there are certain things you should do each time you get up close and personal with these crucial safety features:

  • Check for visible tire damage or punctures.
  • Check for tire rot, disintegration, or cracking of the tire wall.
  • Observe your wheels to see that they’re properly aligned.

Maintain Your Tires at Jaguar Annapolis

Here at Jaguar Annapolis, we’re here to help Edgewater-area drivers with every aspect of their maintenance and tire care routines. Explore our service specials to save on crucial maintenance today.

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