Measuring Tread Depth

Wednesday, July 14, 2010 by Bart Blackburn
Did you know you that you can use U.S. coins as a substitute for a tire tread depth gauge? Of course, this method is not as accurate as using an actual tread depth gauge, but it is a reasonable substitute.

Tread depths can vary from one tire size to another. As your tire wears, it loses its ability to process the water on the road. Even though a tire is considered to be worn out at 2/32“ remaining tread, it loses its efficiency for traction as it wears. If you live in an area where frequent rain is an issue, it is recommended that you change your tires at 4/32” remaining tread so that you do not experience a drop in wet weather performance.

Have you heard the saying, “A chain is only as strong as its weakest link?” A similar thing can be said about tires since a tire is no better than the most worn spot on its tread. When looking at a tire’s tread, you may find irregularities have occurred as it has worn. The most worn spot is its weak link!
The Penny Test for Tire Tread Depth


Place a penny into several tread grooves across the tire. If part of Lincoln's head is always covered by the tread, you have more than 2/32" of tread depth remaining.




The Quarter Test for Tire Tread Depth


Place a quarter into several tread grooves across the tire. If part of Washington's head is always covered by the tread, you have more than 4/32" of tread depth remaining.

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