How To Check Tire Tread

Checking tire tread with a penny

Tire care is an essential part of your maintenance routine. While our service center is happy to take care of tasks like alignments and rotations, many Providence drivers want to know “How do I check tire tread depth from home?” The good news is that it’s simple to keep tabs on your tread from your very own garage, and you can even check your tread levels with a penny! Find out how to check tire tread accurately with Mercedes-Benz of Warwick, and visit us in Warwick to learn more tips and tricks.



What is Tire Tread?

Tire tread is the surface of your tire that touches the road when you drive. The tread helps to grip the road and keep you grounded, whether driving down the East Greenwich streets or heading off-road outside of Cranston. Over time, your tire tread depth will wear down. This means you’ll have less traction, poorer performance, and even compromised safety – especially during inclement weather. That’s why it’s crucial to maintain proper tread depth.

What is the Recommended Tire Tread Depth?

Brand-new tires usually have a tread depth measuring around 10/32 or 11/32 of an inch (about a third of an inch). If you choose winter tires or off-roading tires, you might have slightly deeper tread grooves. So, what is the tire tread minimum to drive safely? The U.S. Department of Transportation advises drivers to replace tires when the tread reaches 2/32 of an inch.

How to Check Tire Tread Depth with a Penny

So, how do I check tire tread depth at home? You can use a ruler or a tire tread depth gauge from the parts department, but you can also learn how to check tire tread with a penny! Just grab any standard penny from around the house and follow these directions:

  1. Insert the penny with the top of Lincoln’s head pointing down into the tread groove.
  2. Once the penny is inside the groove, check to see if Lincoln’s head is covered or still visible.
  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. If Lincoln’s head is at least partially covered, that means that you have sufficient tread.
  4. Repeat this process on all four tires and in multiple locations on each tire.

What Are Other Ways to Check Your Tire Tread Depth?

If you can’t find a penny nearby, you can learn how to check tire tread with different tools. Here are some of your options:

  • Tread Depth Gauge: A tread depth gauge can be found at our parts department or any auto parts store. Just insert the probe into the tread groove, press the top bar flat against the tire, and get an instant measurement.
  • Tread Wear Bars: Check to see if your tires have tread wear indicator bars built into them. These bars are located on the bottom of the tread grooves in multiple areas. When the bars are flush with the surface of the tire, that means your tread level has worn and you’ll need replacement tires.

Get Expert Tire Care With Mercedes-Benz of Warwick

Need more tips on how to check tire tread? Ready for a new set of tires? No matter your automotive wants and needs, contact us to learn more at any time! Our service experts would be happy to help you learn the ropes, and you can schedule a maintenance appointment at your convenience.


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