Basil How-To’s: How to Check Tire Tread

April 4th, 2019 by

 

We all know what it’s like to drive in the winter through the snow in Western New York. We all get the same talk from our friends, family, and mechanics, that “make sure your car is ready for the winter” talk. As much as we hate the nagging from them, there’s a lot of truth in their words. One thing you may never think to do is check your tire tread to see if you need new tires. For some people, this is done by their mechanic, but you can actually check your car’s tire tread on your own—and it’s easy! Learn how to measure tire depth from Basil Family Dealerships.

How to Check Tire Tread Depth with a Penny

Checking tire tread with a penny is an easy way to measure tread depth:

  1. Insert a penny with Lincoln’s head upside down into a tire tread groove.
  2. If Lincoln’s head is covered and no longer visible between the grooves, your tread depth is good.
  3. If you can see all of Lincoln’s face, it means that the tire tread is 2/32 inches deep or less, and it’s time to replace them.
Hand using penny to check tire tread depth

How to Check Tire Tread Depth with a Tire Tread Depth Gauge

While the “penny test” can work, the car industry recognized the need for a tool to accurately measure tire tread. A tire tread depth gauge is inexpensive, usually less than $10, and it takes all the guess-work out of checking tire depth, giving you an exact reading, so you’ll know when it’s time to get a new set of tires.

Whenever you check the tire tread, you should also:

  • Check the tire pressure.
  • Inspect for any visible damage to the tread or sidewalls.
  • Check for any tire rot or disintegration.
  • Check to see if the wear is uneven.
Hand using tire tread depth gauge to measure tire tread depth

If you notice any issues with your tires, schedule a service appointment at any of the Basil Family Dealerships’ service centers to have it taken care of as soon as possible.

Tire Tread vs. Stopping Distance

The tire tread depth gauge measures in 32nds of an inch. Good tire tread depth will be 6/32 or deeper. If the depth is 4/32, you should start thinking of replacing your tires and getting new ones. 2/32 or less means that you should change your tires ASAP. The amount of tire tread can affect your stopping distance, making a drive in wet or snowy conditions around Orchard Park or Niagara Falls more dangerous. Here’s a quick look at tire tread vs. stopping distance in wet conditions:

  • Tire tread depth: 6/32; Stopping distance: 185 feet
  • Tire tread depth: 4/32; Stopping distance: 205 feet
  • Tire tread depth: 2/32; Stopping distance: 250 feet

How to Better Maintain Your Tires and Optimize Tread Depth

Here are a few ways to prevent your tires from wearing down too quickly:

  • Make sure that your tires are properly inflated to help keep wear uniform across your tires.
  • Rotate your tires every 6,000 miles.
  • Check that your car’s alignment is correct. If your car is pulling to one side, then your tires are going to wear faster on the side to which the car the pulling.

You may want to consider getting a set of winter tires, which can handle slush, ice, and snow significantly better than all-season tires.

Count on Basil Family Dealerships for Your Tire Service Needs

Taking good care of your tires will help to keep you safe on Western New York roads, while also extending the life of your tires, which will save you money in the long run. For more information, contact your nearest Basil service center!

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Posted in FAQ, Service, Tips, Tires