How much tread is on a new tire?

Updated July 19, 2017

To deliver you safely to your destination, your car needs a safe driver and well-maintained parts. Tires are no exception, so you should be able to classify new tires to make an informed purchase.

Two Notable New Tire Components

When new, all tires have a slightly different tread depth, depending on the design, manufacturer and model of tire. However, a tyre's treadwear rating provides a good indicator of how long a new tire will last and the tread depth will indicate how much use the tire has endured. Get acquainted with these two components to find out how much tread is on the tires in question.


Treadwear ratings will tell you the distance a tire will travel and how quickly the tread will wear down. Look for this number when shopping for new tires. Keep in mind that the minimum standard is 100 and that your tires will last longer if the treadwear has a higher value (e.g. Tires with a treadwear rating of 300 will last longer than those with a rating of 200.)

Tread Depth

Tire manufacturers make their tires so you know when you need to replace them. If the raised sections spaced in the bottom of the tread grooves are even with the outside of the tread, you should replace your tires. A more common way to check if your tires need to be replaced is to position a penny in the grooves; if the top of Lincoln's head is visible, you should replace your tires.

For a visual guide to measuring the tread depth with U.S. coins, refer to the resources section.

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About the Author

Jordan Tate began writing in 2001, specializing in short stories, detailed reports and news releases. His work has appeared in the "Red & Black." Tate has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism in public relations and a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of Georgia.