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How to Check Your Tire Tread Depth with a Gauge or a Penny

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How to Check Your Tire Tread Depth with a Gauge or a Penny

Created on: 2018-11-19

How to inspect your tires with a tire tread gauge or a penny.

  1. step 1 :Checking the Tire Tread Depth
    • Insert the tire tread depth gauge to the grooves
    • Measure and look for areas below 2/32
    • With a penny, see how much of Lincoln's head can be covered (less coverage means the tire is more worn)
    • Look for uneven tread

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Hi. I'm Mike from 1A Auto. We've been selling auto parts for over 30 years!

What's up, guys? I'm Andy from 1A Auto. Today I'm gonna show you a couple of tricks on how to check tread depth on any vehicle. If you need parts for your vehicle, click the link in the description and head over to 1AAuto.com.

I have a tire depth gauge right here. This is a digital one. What you do is you put this right on the tire tread and then you measure down and you can see how much tire life you have left. Anywhere below 2/32 is pretty much all done. It's junk. These tires are measuring at about 5/32, which it's not horrible but it's more than over half the life of the tire. So there's that.

If you wanted to check with a penny, you can take the penny, hold it upside down. See how much of Lincolns head you can cover. Right there it's just a little bit above the hairline, which that's about 5/32, like I said. So let's go check some other tires.

Here I'm going check on another tire with the penny and it's covering more of the hairline, almost up to the eye. This vehicles tires are about 6/32 or 7/32, so these tires are pretty good. It's good right there.

Now I'm going check with the depth gauge again. This is about 3/32, 4/32, 5/32. So there's some uneven tread wear on this tire. Check with the penny and on the outside of the tread, I'm not even getting to the hairline. I'm just barely the hairline in the middle and then in the back, it's covered the hairline. So there's some uneven wear on here. So just because you check it on the outside doesn't always mean it's good. You want to check throughout the tread.

At this point, these being about 3/32, we would need to replace these, but if we were closer to the 5/32 or 6/32, then you have a little more time before you need to replace your tires. We're going to check these tires and with the penny, we're up almost to the nose, which is pretty good. The eyes. Then I'll check it with the gauge to show that these are about 9/32, which these tires are almost new. 7/32 in the middle, so they're worn a little bit in the middle, and 9/32 on the edge. So these tires were probably over inflated. When you overinflate the tires, they're going to wear the center out faster. If they're under inflated, it's going to wear the outsides of the tires faster and if the alignments off, generally it'll wear the outer edge or the inner edge out. Thanks for watching.

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Tools needed for replacement:

    1A - No Tools Needed

  • No Tools Needed


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