How to Make Sure Your Winter Tires Have Enough Tread

The tread on your snow or winter tires is an important part of safe winter driving. As the tread wears down and the sipes and channels in between the tread disappear, you end up with less grip on snow and icy roads. Here’s why the tread on those tires is so vital and how to check your winter tire tread depth for added safety on snow- and ice-covered roads.

What Does Tread Depth Do?

The tread depth on a set of new winter tires is usually around 10/32 to 11/32 inches. When the tread is new, you get the most from those tires. That includes stopping distance, cornering, and performance. As you drive, even on snow and ice, the tread on those tires will wear down. Once the tread is half of what it was when it was new, it may be time for a new set of tires. For example, if your snow tires came with 10/32 of an inch, it would be time to consider new winter tires to ensure safe winter driving when they reach 5/32 of an inch.

Do you have studs on your winter tires? Those studs will wear down with your tire tread. Even if your studs appear to be even with the tread, the studs are designed to do their job and stay in contact with the snow and ice to keep you in control.

How to Check Your Tires Tread Depth

There are a couple of ways to check your snow tire tread depth. These include the use of the tread wear bars and a tread measuring tool.

Use the Tread Wear Bars: All tires sold in the United States today must have tread wear bars. These wear bars are small, raised bars of rubber in the grooves of your tire. While these are a good indication of wear on all-season tires, they are not ideal for winter tires. If the tread on your winter tires is even with the wear bars, your tires will be at 2/32 inches. On snow tires, as your tread wears down, the tires become less effective. Stop by Les Schwab and have your tire tread measured. We’ll make recommendations to ensure you have enough tread to safely navigate snow- and ice-covered roads.

Tread wear bars

Use a Tread Measuring Tool: These tools precisely measure the tread depth of your snow tires in 32nds of an inch. Don’t have one of these tools? Stop by Les Schwab. We’ll be happy to measure the tread depth of your tires for free.

Tread depth tool

Get Your Tread Depth Measured by a Pro

It can be difficult to know if the tread on your winter tires is okay for another season. Instead of making a guess, stop by Les Schwab for a free evaluation and precise measurements.

Not sure if You Need New Tires? Try Les Schwab

The tire pros at Les Schwab will give your current winter tires a free evaluation. They’ll look for cracks and cuts, bulges in the sidewall, uneven wear and more. If you need new tires, they’ll show you all of your options.

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