How To Check Tire Tread Depth At Home

person touching car tires

How do I check tire tread wear without bringing my vehicle in for an appointment? This is one question that we hear all the time here at Chevrolet Of Turnersville. In fact, if you know your recommended tire tread depth, learning how to measure tire life at home is quick and easy. That’s true even if you don’t have a tire tread gauge on hand; all you’ll need is a penny and a little know-how! We’ve laid out everything you need to know about how to check tire tread depth below. Of course, you can always schedule service to get a second opinion from the experts.

What Is The Recommended Tire Tread Depth?

Recommended tire tread depth can vary depending on what kind of tires (winter, performance, all-season, etc.) you’ve chosen to equip on your vehicle. However, in the majority of cases, new tires will have a tread-depth of roughly one-third of an inch. Unless you’re dealing with a special case, they should come in at precisely 10/32 or 11/32 of one inch. However, knowing your tire’s starting depth isn’t actually the most important part.

More crucially, you’ll need to know how to measure tire life! Always replace your tires when tread depth reaches 2/32 of an inch or less! That 2/32-inch tread depth guideline is from the U.S. Department of Transportation, which recognizes the increased risks that come with worn-down, thinned-out tires.

How To Use A Penny To Check Tire Tread Depth

Although a trusted tire tread gauge will give you the most accurate measure of your tread depth, a penny works just fine in a pinch. Here’s how to check your tire tread with a penny:

  1. Take any standard U.S. penny, and insert it into the tire tread groove, with Lincoln’s head facing down and out.
  2. Lean in to see if Lincoln’s head is covered or visible.
  3. If you can see all of Lincoln’s face, your tire definitely needs to be replaced.
  4. It’s a good idea to measure multiple locations for each tire, as wear rarely accrues evenly.

Although it’s often convenient to learn how to check tire tread wear with a penny, you can get even sharper results by picking up a tire tread gauge at our parts department, or by using a ruler, if you can fit it into the tire well.

Although most drivers only check their tire tread depth when they believe it might be time for a new set, the truth is that anyone can benefit by checking their tread depth more regularly. Aside from giving you an excuse to get up-close and personal with your tires, checking the tread depth can help you get the maximum benefit from every tire rotation. Rather than waiting for any predetermined guideline, you can schedule rotation whenever there’s a difference of 2/32 inches or more between the tread depths of your tires. If the wear differs from place to place on one tire, it may be an indication of misalignment, or of a deeper issue. It pays to focus your attention carefully.

Tire Care Tips To Maximize Tire Life

Keeping your tires at more than 2/32 inches of tread depth isn’t very difficult, since learning how to check tire wear genuinely only takes a moment. However, tread wear isn’t necessarily the only sign that your tires are due for a change, and all tires will wear out eventually. While you’re checking your treads, keep an eye out for:

  • Visible tire damage, such as cracks or bulging
  • Visible tire rot or disintegration
  • Misaligned wheels or significant uneven tire wear

Don’t forget: you should also be checking your tire pressure at least once a month, and more often when the weather is going through extremes. If you’re having trouble with uneven wear, you may not be keeping up with your tire rotation schedule. Different types of uneven tire wear generally indicate different issues, which vary dramatically in severity. In addition to knowing how to check tire tread depth, you should have an idea of how to recognize these problems. At the very least, remember that you can rely on the service experts at Chevrolet Of Turnersville and contact us with any questions on your mind!

Failing to replace, rotate, or maintain the air pressure in your tires will dramatically increase the risk of flats and blowouts on the roads near Voorhees and Cherry Hill. Every driver should know how to change a tire, just in case.

Maintain Your Tires At Chevrolet Of Turnersville

Chevrolet Of Turnersville wants you to get the most that you possibly can from your vehicle’s tires, and we’re happy to walk you through the process when you’re getting ready to check your tire tread depth at home. Still, even the best-maintained tires will eventually need to be replaced! When that day comes, we’ve made it easy to find tires online and schedule service, at our dealership near Deptford!