3671 Pierce Parkway • Billings, MT 59106
close up of tire tread

What Is Tire Tread & How Do You Measure It

The quality of your tires can be a huge part of how safe you are as you drive around Bozeman. That’s why it’s so important to know how to measure tire tread. Learn how to check tire tread depth from the team at Underriner Motors, and contact us if you have any other questions.

What is Tire Tread Depth?

The treads on your tire ensure your car won’t slip on the road, but what is tire tread depth? Tire tread depth is the depth of the grooves between your tire treads. New tires usually have a tread depth of about 10/32 to 11/32 of an inch. However, tires designed for winter driving, off-road driving, or for vehicles like SUVs or trucks sometimes have deeper tire treads.

Once your tire treads are only 2/32 of an inch deep, it’s time to replace them. You can do that at our service center which is only a short drive from Laurel.

How to Measure Tire Tread: The Penny Test

Now that you know the answer to, “what is tire tread depth?” how do you measure it? Well there are a few methods. The easiest is the penny test. Just follow these steps:

  1. With Lincoln pointed head first toward your tire, insert a penny into the tire tread groove.
  2. See how deep Lincoln’s head goes into the groove. Is any of his head still visible?
  3. If all of Lincoln’s head is visible, then your tire treads are 2/32 inches deep or less. In that case, it’s time to replace them.
  4. Check the depth of your tire tread grooves in multiple locations on each tire.

How to Measure Tire Tread: Other Methods

If you don’t have a penny, there are two other methods to measure tire tread groove depth that Miles City-area drivers can use. These methods are:

  • Using a Tread Depth Gauge: You’ll have to purchase a tread depth gauge from an auto-supply store, but they aren’t very expensive and are a worthwhile purchase. To use one, insert its probe into the shallowest tread groove on your tire. Then, press down the top bar of the gauge until it’s flush with the surface of the tire.
  • Using Tread Wear Bars: Manufacturers build tread wear indicator bars into many different kinds of tires. They’re found at the bottom of tread grooves. If the tire is worn down, the indicator bars will be flush with the treads surrounding the groove. If that’s the case, it’s time to replace the tire.

Get Your Tires Replaced at Underriner Motors

Schedule service with us in Billings to get your tires replaced by our professional team. Before you visit, make sure to check our service specials.

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