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Get An Oil Change

Your Nearest Store:

4700 N Brandywine Dr
Peoria, IL
309.340.4981

tiresplus storefront
Most stores are open nights and weekends

Store Hours:
Day(s) Hours
MON-FRI: 7:00am-7:00pm
SAT: 7:00am-6:00pm
SUN: 9:00am-5:00pm
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Your Nearest Store:

4700 N Brandywine Dr
Peoria, IL
309.340.4981

tiresplus storefront
Most stores are open nights and weekends

Store Hours:
Day(s) Hours
MON-FRI: 7:00am-7:00pm
SAT: 7:00am-6:00pm
SUN: 9:00am-5:00pm
Schedule An Appointment Learn more about Brake Service

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How to Check Tire Tread Depth

Learn how to tell when it’s time for a new set of tires. 

What Is Tire Tread Depth?

Tire tread depth is a vertical measurement starting from the top of a tire’s rubber to the bottom of its deepest grooves. Tire tread is the part of the tire that makes contact with the road. As tire tread inevitably wears down over time, traction and responsiveness will decrease so it’s important to keep an eye on tread wear so you know when it’s time to rotate your tires and eventually replace them.

tires plus technician showing customer how to check tire tread depth

How Do I Check Tire Tread Depth?

To check your tire tread at home, try using the penny method. Simply place a U.S. penny headfirst into several tread grooves on different areas of the tire. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, your treads are shallow and worn, and it may be time to replace your tires. If part of Lincoln’s head is always covered by the tread, you have more than 2/32 of an inch of tread depth remaining.

Some light truck and performance tires come with a tire tread wear bar. The indicator is located in between the tire treads, so if the indicator bar is even with your current tread wear, it’s time to replace your tires.

Even with these tricks, it can be difficult to accurately gauge your tire tread wear with the naked eye. The experts at Tires Plus can help by doing an inspection and recommending the best course of action for your vehicle.

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Types of Tire Tread Wear

There are a few different patterns for typical tire wear and some of them can be warning signs for other issues with your vehicle. Make sure your tires are the right size, aligned and inflated properly and get regular tire rotations to promote even tire wear that helps ensure your tires last as long as possible. Here are a few tire tread wear patterns to watch out for:

  • Pronounced inner or outer shoulder wear: tires may not be aligned properly
  • Edge of the shoulder wear: tires may need to be rotated, are under-inflated, or both
  • Center wear: tires may be overinflated or have been subjected to extremely hard acceleration
  • Cupped wear: your vehicle may have suspension issues 

Tire Tread Depth Chart

In the United States, tread depth is measured in 32nds of an inch and in most states, it’s illegal to drive on tires with less than 2/32 of one inch of tread. Make sure to check your tire tread periodically or ask the experts at a Tires Plus location to do an inspection during a tire rotation service. 

6/32 and above In good condition
Between 4/32 and 5/32 Time to inspect for replacement
2/32 and lower Replace as soon as possible

If you’re ready to start shopping for a new set of tires, you can count on Tires Plus to have  a wide range of options from trusted brands.

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