How to Check Tire Tread Depth

close up of tire tread

Are you wondering if your tires have enough tread for safe driving in Tysons Corner? It is important to learn how to check tire tread depth. All you need is a ruler or penny, and you can check tire tread depth right from your Springfield driveway. Learn how to check tire tread depth in no time with Lindsay Volkswagen of Dulles.

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). If you have outfitted your vehicle with winter tires or tires that can handle off-road adventures in Alexandria, those tires may have even deeper tread grooves.

When the tread depth reaches 2/32 of an inch, it’s time to replace your tires according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. If you want to be able to drive with complete confidence on the roads of Dulles, proper tire tread depth is a must.

Check Tire Tread Depth with the Penny Test

If you are trying to get the most accurate tire tread depth reading, a ruler is recommended. However, if you do not have a ruler on hand, a penny will do in a pinch. The design on the U.S. penny makes it the perfect item for checking tread depth. See how to check tire tread with a penny below:

  1. Insert a penny with Lincoln head-first into a tire tread groove.
  2. Observe whether or not Lincoln’s head is covered and no longer visible between the grooves.
  3. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head, it is time to replace your tires, as it indicates that tread depth is 2/32 of an inch or less.
  4. Repeat this process on all four tires and in multiple locations on each tire.

Other Methods for Checking Tire Tread Depth

If a ruler or penny is not available to you, there are still ways that you can check the tread depth of your tires:

  • Tread Depth Gauge: Insert the probe of the tire tread depth gauge 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 feature tread wear indicator bars at the bottom of the tread grooves in multiple locations across the tire. If the bars are flush with the tire ribs around them, it indicates that your tires do not have the recommended tread depth.

Prolong the Life of Your Tires with Lindsay Volkswagen of Dulles

At Lindsay Volkswagen of Dulles, we want to make sure that your tires are safe for the Sterling roads and that they last as long as possible. If you have questions about tire care, reach out to our highly-skilled technicians. We would be more than happy to discuss how you can prolong the life of your tires.


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