Tire maintenance & safety

How to use a tread depth card

Last updated 10/17/2022 - Originally published 9/23/2020
Written by SimpleTire

There's a reason why worn tires are illegal in most states: they're simply not safe. The tread on your tires gradually wears away with use, and your ability to stop has a lot to do with the tread depth on your tires.

A tire's tread depth is measured in 32nds of an inch, and a typical car tire starts around 10/32" to 11/32". How often do any of us measure things in 32nds of an inch? Most of us don't have a tread depth gauge to do so. That's where tread depth cards come in handy.

You can use a tread depth card like this one to quickly get an idea of what shape your tires are in. Simply insert the corner of the card into the grooves of your tire and see how much of the corner is visible above the tire.

If only the green part is visible, the tire is still in good shape. If you can see yellow, the tire may need to be replaced soon. If red is visible, the tire is worn and you should replace it.

That's how easy it is to inspect your tires with a tread depth card. If you don't have one, you can also use a quarter.

Remember SimpleTire when you need to get new tires. With expert recommendations, an all-in-one price that includes installation, and free delivery to your installer, SimpleTire is your one-stop-shop for excellent tires and installation.

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