How to Read a Car Tire Tread Gauge

The tread on your tires is important for traction and safety. As your tires wear down, the tread becomes thinner and less effective. Eventually, the tread will wear down to the legal minimum, and your tires will need to be replaced.

A tire tread gauge is a tool that you can use to measure the depth of your tire tread. This will help you determine if your tires need to be replaced.

How to Use a Tire Tread Gauge

To use a tire tread gauge, follow these steps:

  1. Find the tread wear indicator bars (TWI) on your tires. These are small raised bars that are located across the tread.
  2. Insert the tire tread gauge into the tread groove, making sure that it is level.
  3. Read the measurement on the gauge. The measurement should be in millimeters or inches.
black and white shoe on white surface
Photo by Jaye Haych on Unsplash

The Legal Minimum Tread Depth

The legal minimum tread depth for tires varies from state to state. In most states, the legal minimum tread depth is 2/32 inches. However, some states have a lower minimum tread depth.

If your tires have less than the legal minimum tread depth, they should be replaced. Driving with tires that have low tread depth can be dangerous, as they provide less traction and can lead to hydroplaning.

See also  How Long Do Tire Plugs Last?

Tips for Reading a Tire Tread Gauge

Here are a few tips for reading a tire tread gauge:

  • Make sure that the tire tread gauge is clean and dry.
  • Insert the tire tread gauge into the tread groove so that it is level.
  • Do not press down on the tire tread gauge.
  • Read the measurement on the gauge carefully.


If you have trouble reading the measurement on the tire tread gauge, try the following:

  • Clean the tire tread gauge with a soft cloth.
  • Try using a different tire tread gauge.
  • If you are still having trouble, contact a tire shop or service station.


By following the tips in this article, you can learn how to read a tire tread gauge and determine if your tires need to be replaced. By keeping your tires properly maintained, you can help to ensure your safety on the road.

Additional Information

  • In addition to the legal minimum tread depth, there are other factors that can affect the safety of your tires. These factors include the age of your tires, the type of tires you have, and the weather conditions.
  • If you are unsure about the condition of your tires, it is always best to have them inspected by a qualified mechanic.
  • By taking care of your tires, you can help to extend their lifespan and keep yourself safe on the road.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: