April 11, 2018

The winter weather is almost gone and it is time to change your winter tires back to your summer tires.  Before you do that, it is a good idea to check to see if your tire tread depth is sufficient and the tire is wearing evenly.  If there is not enough tread depth, you are at risk for hydroplaning, reduced traction and getting punctures in your tires.

The following are a few ways to measure and check your tire tread depth:

Tire tread depth gauge

Tire tread depth gauges are the fastest and easiest way to do your measurements.

  1. Find the shallowest groove of the tread and insert the pin of the gauge until the base is flush with the tire.
  2. Read the scale. Here is a summary of what you will see and what you have to do:

Understanding Tread Depth

  • 6/32” Your tire’s tread depth is sufficient.
  • 5/32” If wet roads are a concern, consider replacing your tires.
  • 4/32” – 3/32” Seriously consider replacing your tires as soon as possible.
  • 2/32” Your tires are legally bald and need to be replaced.

According to most manufacturers, and even the law in most provinces, your tires should be replaced when the tread depth reaches 4/32” in the winter and 2/32″ in the summer. If your tread depth wears to those levels, your tires are considered bald and a safety hazard.

A toonie

Most of us don’t have a tread depth gauge but the following video will teach you how to do this with a toonie. Slip a toonie in between your tread blocks. If the tread reaches the bear’s paws, your tires have lots of tread left. If the silver part of the toonie is covered by the tread block, your tires are about half worn. If the tread reaches only as far as the letters (‘CANADA’ or ‘DOLLARS’), your tires are worn and need to be replaced.

Tire tread wear indicators

Some tires have  built-in tread wear indicators. They’re little raised bars that are molded into the tread grooves at regular intervals around the tire to indicate when a tire is worn to its limit of safety.  When the tire is worn to the legal limit the bars will be flush with the surface of the tread.

tread depth



It is important to change your tires once they are worn out to prevent loosing traction, hydroplaning and getting punctures in your tires.  Keep you and your family safe with proper tires along with regular inspections including looking for signs of aging and damage, like cracks, bulges or abrasions.

Also remember to keep your auto insurance up to date and contact us at Rice Inc. if your have any insurance questions or would like a no obligation quote.