How to Check Tire Tread Depth

Tire Closeup Focus on Numbers

Do you know how to check tire tread wear? It’s one of the most important aspects of vehicle ownership. Luckily, the experts at Cactus Jack's Auto can help you check the depth of your tire tread right in Surprise! Learn more about how to check tire tread depth with the Cactus Jack's Auto service department. For more information about how to check tire tread depth or any other maintenance questions, feel free to contact us anytime!

What Should Your Tire Tread Depth Be? 

On average, brand new tires have a depth of around 10/32 or 11/32 of an inch, which is about a third of an inch thick. If you have all-terrain or winter tires, the tire tread depth could be even deeper with more intense tread depth.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, when your tires reach around 2/32 of an inch, it’s time to replace your tires. Having the right tread depth is essential for both yourself and others driving around Mesa, and with regular maintenance, you could easily extend the life of your tires.

The Penny Test

So, how do I check tire tread wear? The best method is to have a ruler on hand to properly measure the depth of tread. However, a penny is also a useful tool, especially if you’re out on the road. The design and dimensions of a penny allow it to effectively measure tread depth of the tires. Let’s check out these easy steps to checking the width of your tires with a penny:

  1. Put the penny into the tire tread grove with the Lincoln head first.
  2. Take a look and see if Lincoln’s head is completely covered and not visible between the grooves. 
  3. If Lincolns’s entire head is present, it means the tire tread is 2/32 inches and is time for replacement.
  4. Go around the car and repeat the process measuring each tire and a few different positions on the tire.

What Are Some Other Ways To Check Tread Depth?

In the age of credit and debit cards, many don’t carry around cash, so you may not have any change on you. However, there are a couple other method you can use to check the tread depth on your tires:

  • Tread Depth Gauge: Using a tread depth gauge is a great way to check tire tread depth without a penny on hand. It is inexpensive and accessible for many Glendale drivers. All you have to do is place the probe into the shallowest tread grove, press the top bar of the gauge so it’s flat on the tire, allowing you to accurately get a reading on the tread depth.
  • Tread Wear Bars: Tread wear indicator bars are built into most tires. You can locate these near the bottom of the tread grooves and in several other locations throughout the tire. If the bars are as flat as the tire ribs, it means that the depth is 2/32 of an inch, and replacement is needed.

Schedule Tire Maintenance at Cactus Jack's Auto

Now that you know how to check tire tread depth, visit us at Cactus Jack's Auto in Phoenix so we can answer all your questions! If you’re in the market for a vehicle, come check out our used vehicle inventory and visit our finance center to start the buying process.


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