Tire Tread Depth Chart

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The patterns and grooves on the car’s tires might only seem like designs made arbitrarily for inexperienced drivers. But in reality, that’s not the case. Each stroke of those patterns, otherwise known as tread, has been put there in a well-thought manner.

The tread serves the purpose of enabling the tire to have enhanced grip on the road, accelerate or brake when necessary and move forward in general. So every move you are making with your car, the tread on the tire plays a role. Therefore, it is vital to keep an eye on the tread depth.

And to do so, in this article, we have provided a detailed tire tread depth chart to help you ascertain it better. Keep reading to know more!

All About Tread and Its Depth

By now, you might know what tread is, but what do we mean by its depth? The depth of the tire’s tread is the length from the apex of the tire to the underside of its most profound groove. 

But why is it important to know about the tread depth of the tire? As the tire is used frequently, its tread slowly wears down, and the depth lessens. As this happens, the tire’s efficacy decreases, and it starts losing its grip. This results in an uncomfortable ride.

And when this has happened for a prolonged time without any maintenance, accidents can occur due to the tires suddenly puncturing or slipping. So, every driver must know about tread depth and how to measure it.

Related Guide: Michelin All Terrain Tires vs. BF Goodrich

Process of Measuring Tread Depth

There are quite a few methods using which you can check the depth of the tire depth. The most commonly used one employs a coin and is known as the coin or penny test. Besides this, there are a few other mechanisms as well. The easiest and most prominent ones have been explained below:

Coin Test

In the USA, the ideal measure of tire tread depth ranges from 10/32 inches to 11/32 inches. When this limit reaches as low as 2 to 3/32 part of an inch, that’s when you should replace the tire immediately. And to determine this, you can use a straightforward apparatus, a penny.

At first, you have to locate the part of the tread that’s a bit raised and covers the entirety of the tire’s circumference. You will find several of such parts. These parts are known as ribs. You have to place the coin in between two such raised parts.

Position the coin in such a way that the head side is upside down, with the head touching the tire’s surface; after this comes the tricky part. You need to see if the upper portion of the head completely immerses into any of the gaps between the ribs. If this happens, the tire has reached its endpoint and needs to be replaced quickly.

But if that is not the case, you can still continue to use that tire. You need to repeat this along with the tire at different points across different ribs. Pay special attention to places that seem the most tattered. Even if all the other areas seem fine, but one par does not meet the standard, replace the tire.

Another important thing to note is that if the tire has lost its depth arbitrarily, with some parts worn out and other parts completely fine, you should get it checked by a mechanic.

Using Gauge

The second process you can use to carry this task out is by using a gauge. You can avail of this instrument at stores specializing in motor parts. It does not have to be fancy, and you can get any simple one. 

After getting a gauge, set it up against the grooves of the tread and take the measurements. Don’t forget to check if the units are properly set up. 

Check the Scale Bar

Tires come with scale bars which act as an indicator signing towards its condition. You will usually find it hidden somewhere between the rips. If you see this indicator reaching its limit, you should get rid of that tire and install new ones.

Tread Depth Chart

The most standard unit of measurement used in the USA for determining tire depth is 1/32nd parts of an inch. Using this standard, fresh tires will usually be 10 to 12 parts of 32nd inches. Bigger tires meant for SUVs and trucks could even measure as high as 15 to 16 parts of 32nd inches. 

The lowest limit in the tread depth chart, according to experts, is 2/32nd parts of an inch. If a tire reaches this point, it must be replaced immediately. And if you often drive on challenging road conditions in difficult weather, you should raise the lower bar a bit to 4/32 inches. 


Be it the finest all terrain tires, good value tires or good mud tires, every sort of tire has a life of its own. When its tread depth reaches the limit, it is time to bid farewell to that tire. Even for good all season tires and quality sand tires, keeping the tire tread depth chart nearby is recommended.

So for every type of tire, keep in mind the minimal tread depth limit required for it to function effectively and replace it when it reaches this limit.

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