How to Check Tire Tread Depth

Row of tires

It’s easy to forget about tire tread depth. In fact, we understand if you’ve never asked yourself, “How do I check tire tread wear?” However, knowing how to check tire tread depth is quick, easy, and can mean the difference between safe driving and accidents on Normal streets. Take a quick look at how to check tire tread depth with the service department at Leman's Chevrolet City Llc. 

What is the Recommended Tire Tread Depth? 

When you buy new tires, their tread depth will be 10/32 or 11/32 of an inch; or about one-third of an inch. Winter tires and off-roading tires, along with some truck and SUV tires might have deeper treads. When your tire tread depth drops to 2/32 of an inch, it’s time for new tires, according to the recommendations of the U.S. Department of Transportation. Anything less than one-sixteenth of an inch is going to put you at risk. 

The Penny Test

While it’s relatively easy to use a ruler to measure your tire tread, you might not have a ruler handy. But you probably have a penny in your pocket or cup holder. Here’s how you can use a U.S. penny to measure your tire tread wear: 

  1. Insert a penny with Lincoln head-first into a tire tread groove.
  2. Observe if Lincoln’s head is covered and no longer visible between the grooves.
  3. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head, that means your tire treads are 2/32 inches deep or less and it’s time to replace them.
  4. Repeat this process on all four tires and in multiple locations on each tire.

Other Methods for Checking Tire Tread Wear

Rulers and pennies aside, there are two other common ways to measure your tire tread wear in Decatur: you can buy an inexpensive tread depth gauge, or you can let your tires tell you: 

  • Tread Depth Gauge: You can purchase a tread depth gauge for any store that has an auto parts department, and they’re small and affordable. 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: Many tires come with tread wear indicator bars built into them. They’ll be located at the bottom of the tread grooves in multiple locations across the tire. The bars will become flush with the tire surface when you read 2/32 of an inch of tire tread and need to replace your tires. 

Get Auto Service Tips From Leman's Chevrolet City Llc

It’s easy to stay on top of your tire and car health with Leman's Chevrolet City Llc! Check out our service tips and tricks to learn plenty of things that can help you keep your car in its best condition, like how to rotate your tires and more.


More from Leman's Chevrolet City Llc

  • 2023 Chevrolet Traverse Towing Capacity

    2022 Model Displayed The Chevy Traverse has plenty of space inside, but it also has exceptional power and capability on the outside, and that’s evident when you see how much it can tow. How much can the latest Chevy Traverse model tow? The 2023 Chevrolet Traverse towing capacity maxes out at 5,000 pounds when properly…

  • 2023 Chevrolet Traverse Interior

    The Chevy Traverse is a fan-favorite among Normal drivers for its easy-to-handle exterior as well as its exceptionally spacious interior. What does the latest Chevy Traverse bring to the table and improve upon compared to the previous year’s model? Take a look inside the Chevy Traverse with Leman's Chevrolet City Llc to see what kinds of features and…

  • 2023 Chevrolet Trailblazer Price & Trims

    For 2023, the Chevy Trailblazer comes available in several different configurations and drivetrain options from which Normal drivers can choose. You can expect to pay $22,100 for the base-level configuration, and the price varies depending on which trim you choose. Compare the 2023 Chevrolet Trailblazer price and trims with Leman's Chevrolet City Llc to see which model is…



Your garage is empty.
Save some vehicles to get started!


Your garage is empty.
Save some vehicles to get started!
Contact Us
Leman's Chevrolet City Llc 40.4594, -88.9703.