You should check your tires’ tread depth periodically to make sure that you can travel in safety. Having a heavily worn tire tread can lead to perilous driving conditions. It may even cause a tire blowout, which could prove disastrous.
The penny test is the most common way of checking tire tread depth. All you need is a little bit of time and a penny. Tire tread is measured by the 32nd of an inch. New tires come with either 10/32-inch or 11/32-inch tread depths. Usually, trucks and SUV tires, as well as some winter tires, come with deeper treads. The U.S. Department of Transportation suggests that tires need to be replaced when they reach 2/32-inch tread depths. In many states, tire replacement is mandatory at this depth.
The penny test is easy to conduct. Every tire has several ribs. Position the penny between the ribs with Lincoln’s head pointing down into the tread. If Lincoln’s head disappears, your tire tread is still more than 2/32 of an inch. If you can see the entire head, it means that your tread is 2/32-inch deep or less, and you probably need to replace your tires. The penny test should be conducted on different areas of the tire’s surface.
Other ways of checking tire tread depth include the following:
- Tread depth gauge – This is a graduated probe gauge which you simply stick into a groove in the tread. Press the probe’s shoulders flat against the tread wall, and you will be able to read the results.
- Tread wear indicator bars – Light truck, medium commercial, and performance tires have built-in indicator bars, also known as wear bars. They are embedded between the ribs of the tread at 2/32 of an inch. You can visually check the tread to see if it is flush with the indicator bar. It is time to replace your tire if you can see the indicator bar.
If you are not sure if you did your tread depth test accurately, bring your vehicle to any Utah tire store for a second opinion. Utah tires can wear easily due to rough roads worn down by extreme weather. If the experts confirm that your tire tread depth is no longer safe, you can purchase replacement tires from a Utah tire shop.