How to Check Tire Tread Depth

Checking Tire Tread_189773810
If you’re wondering to yourself, “How do I check tire tread wear?” don’t worry–Harvest Honda Yakima has the answers. All you need is a ruler or penny, and you can check your tire tread depth at home in Sunnyside! Find out how to check tire tread depth below, and contact us if you have any questions. 



What is the Recommended Tire Tread Depth? 

New tires have a tread depth of about 10/32 or 11/32 of an inch (about a third of an inch). Winter tires and tires designed for off-roading, as well as some truck and SUV tires may have even deeper tread grooves.


At 2/32 of an inch, it’s time to replace your tires according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. Proper tire tread depth is essential to safe driving in Ellensburg, and proper tire care can even extend the life of your tires.

The Penny Test

A ruler is the most accurate way to check tire tread depth, but if you can’t find a ruler in your house—or you are on-the-go and you want to check your tires—a penny will do in a pinch. The design on the U.S. penny makes it the perfect household tool to measure your tire wear. Follow these steps to check the tread depth remaining on your tires.

  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.

How Do I Check Tire Tread Wear Using Other Methods?

These days, many folks use their credit and debit cards more often than cash. So, it’s completely plausible that you might not have a penny on-hand. Here are a couple of other ways you can check your tread depth:

  • Tread Depth Gauge: One way to check your tire tread wear without a penny is with a tread depth gauge. You would need to purchase it, but many Wenatchee car owners will find it to be an affordable and worthwhile investment. 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: Most tires come with tread wear indicator bars built into them. You’ll find them at the bottom of the tread grooves in multiple locations across the tire. If the bars are flush with the tire ribs that surround them, it indicates that the tread depth has reached 2/32 of an inch.

Learn how to rotate tires and other tire-related service tips with the pros at Harvest Honda Yakima.

Maintain Your Tires at Harvest Honda Yakima

When you take your vehicle to your local service center for regular maintenance, the technicians will inspect your tires for any issues or wear. When it’s time to replace your tires, visit our tire center, and be sure to check our parts and service specials to get a great deal!

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