What is a safe tire tread depth?

  • By Lea Naiz
  • 28 Jun, 2017

In the United States, tire tread depth is measured in 32nds of an inch. A new tire has an average of 10/32 to 11/32 of an inch, with winter tires and light truck tires offering slightly more. As you drive, however, the tire tread gradually wears away.

Anything above 4/32 of an inch is considered good. Once your tire tread reaches that depth, it’s time for new tires.

It is easy to check your tread depth with a coin. Insert a penny upside down into the tread groove with Lincoln’s head facing you. If you can see his entire head, replace the tire. A quarter also works. Insert it the same way and, if the tread touches Washington’s head, tire replacement time is near.

What is a safe tire depth

Tire Age

What is lesser known but equally important is that tire age also matters. Think of your tire like a giant rubber band. The longer it sits around, especially when exposed to heat or road conditions, the more brittle it becomes, which can lead to cracking and tread separation.

To find out a tire’s age, look for its “born-on date” in the form of a four-digit DOT (Department of Transportation) code on its sidewall. The first two digits represent the week, and the last two digits are the year in which it was made. So the code 4212 means that the tire was made in the 42nd week of 2012.

Replace all tires, even a spare that has never been used, after six years – 10 years is the absolute limit. Your safety and all others on the road are compromised with expired tires.

Todd Colchin

Colchin Automotive, Inc.

If you are tired of getting the runaround and being treated like you haven’t got a clue, we invite you to try   Colchin Automotive  instead. Give us a call at 303-431-5421 for all of your automotive needs!

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