How To Check Your Tire Tread

hands inspecting tires

hands inspecting tires

Keeping track of your tire tread is an easy but essential aspect of car care. Over time, as you drive, the tire tread wears down. Tires can begin to look smooth or worn when the tread gets too low. Older, worn tires are a serious safety issue and can lead to dangerous accidents. Learning to check your tire tread is a simple but essential skill that can keep you and others on the road safer. Fortunately, several methods allow you to check your tread almost anywhere, anytime.

The Penny Test

Many people have heard of the penny test. This way of checking your tire tread works for most tires but isn’t exact for every tire. However, the penny test is the easiest method and can give you a good idea of whether your tires are officially bald. First, turn the penny so that Abraham Lincoln’s head is turned upside-down. Then, place the penny between treads. If you can see only part of Lincoln’s head, you still have some tread. But if you can see his entire head, your tires are bald, and you should replace them as soon as possible. If the tread measures less than 2/32”, it is bald. Fortunately, you’ll know if you have more than 2/32” tread if the tread covers at least part of Lincoln’s head.

Look at the Wear Bars

If you need an easier way to estimate whether your tread is gone, use this method — no penny required. In between the tread blocks, there are platforms. You can feel those platforms if you stick your finger in the gap. So, if you notice that the tread is even with those platforms, that’s a sign they’re too worn. And if the tread is getting close to the platforms, that’s a sign that new tires should come soon.

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Tread Gauge Tools

Of course, there are ways to measure exactly how much tread you have left rather than estimate. Auto parts stores and even larger stores with automotive sections will have tire tread gauges for sale. In addition, these gauges are usually cheap and small enough to store in your glove compartment. Also, you can choose from simple mechanical tools or digital versions. Furthermore, these tools are easy to use. Stick it in between the tread and press the probe shoulders flat. You’ll be able to read the depth, measurable in 32nds of an inch or millimeters.

Keeping track of your tire tread has many benefits. Worn tread can be a sign that something is wrong with the alignment or with the tire. Or, the worn tread might indicate the tire is old and it’s time to replace it. If you have worn tread, it’s time to schedule service with professional technicians you can trust. Visit Amigo Chevrolet of Gallup, New Mexico, to get professional tire service and be back on the road. We take your safety seriously and want all your driving experiences to be great.

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