How to Check Tire Tread Depth

Checking Tire Tread_189773810

A common question we get here at Luther INFINITI of Bloomington is, “How do I check tire tread wear?” We have answers! Read on to find out more or contact us anytime online. You’re also welcome to call us at 651-383-4948. Our service experts are here to help answer all of your vehicle maintenance questions pertaining to tires, brakes, service schedules, oil changes, and more!


What is the Recommended Tire Tread Depth?

Most new tires sold at Luther INFINITI of Bloomington and elsewhere offer between 10/32 to 11/32 of an inch (about a third of an inch) of tire tread depth. Snow tires and larger chunky tires designed may have even deeper tread grooves with a larger tread depth.

While there’s really no “recommended” tire tread depth to drive on at any given time, there is a legally mandated tread depth at which the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) says it’s time to replace your tires. That tread depth is 2/32 of an inch. Why is that? Because at that tread depth, tires really begin losing their traction-holding capabilities, resulting in a much greater chance of hydroplaning, wheel slippage, and motor vehicle collisions. As such, they pose too great of a safety risk to Eden Prairie and Edina drivers to continue using.


The Penny Test for Checking Tire Tread at Home

While using a ruler is undoubtedly the most accurate way to check tire tread depth, in a pinch, a penny will do just fine. The design on the U.S. penny makes it the ideal household tool with which 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.
Checking tire tread with a penny

How Do I Check Tire Tread Wear Using Other Methods?

If you don’t have a penny available to use to check your tire tread with, then you’ll want to use one of these methods instead:

  • Tread Wear Bars: Most tires offer built-in tread wear bars. You’ll often 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, that means it’s time to replace your tires.
  • Tread Depth Gauge: One way to check your tire tread wear without a penny is with a tread depth gauge. In fact, this is about as accurate if not more so than a penny, making a depth gauge a great investment.

Get the Tire Care Tips & Help You Need at Luther INFINITI of Bloomington!

Our Bloomington service center helps people just like you from Woodbury to Lakeville and beyond with your various automotive maintenance & service needs. Want to learn more? Call 651-383-4948 or check out all of our service & maintenance tips. Meanwhile, you can also schedule tire service online!


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Luther INFINITI of Bloomington 44.8581047, -93.2991941.