• How to Use a Tire Tread Gauge

    Every car owner’s garage should have a tire tread gauge. A tire tread gauge is a tool used to measure your tire tread depth. In the following paragraphs you will be given instructions on how to properly perform a tread depth inspection using a tire tread gauge and something that everyone’s pocket has at least one of.

    Locate Wear Indicator

    Inside the tread pattern, at approximately thirty degree intervals, you will find small dimples in the tire carcass. These are wear indicators and are used to determine legal tread depths.

    Place Against Tire

    Press the flat side of the tread depth gauge against the tire directly over the wear indicator. Push down on the top of the barrel until the tip of the rod makes contact with the wear indicator.

    Take Reading

    Read the indicated tread depth by observing the number on the calibrated barrel. The numbers are given in increments of 32ths of an inch. Most states mandate a minimum tread depth of 2/32 of an inch.


    There will be wear indicators in each of the tread grooves normally. Take reading in each of them in at least two locations on your tire so that you will be able to have an average tire tread depth across the tire.

    Quick Check for Legal Tread

    As stated, almost every state mandates a minimum tread depth of 2/32 of an inch. If you don’t have a tire tread depth gauge, you can use a penny. Locate the wear indicators on your tires and place a penny, with the heads side facing you and upside down in the tread on top of the wear indicator. If the letters above President Lincoln’s head are fully covered, you have at least the legal minimum of tread. If any portion of the tread is visible, you will need to replace your tires soon.

    You now have the information on how to use tire tread gauge as well as a method of determining whether your tires meet the minimum limits of tread.